November 12, 2015

Ponderous. Obscure. Pretentious. French. Any and all of those adjectives could be aptly applied to “Savannah Bay,” a play by the renowned French writer Marguerite Duras in a production from the Theatre de l’Atelier being presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Fishman Space through Saturday. Duras, who died in 1996, is best known for her short autobiographical novel “The Lover” (think I read it; think I was bored) and for writing the screenplay for “Hiroshima Mon Amour” (definitely saw it; definitely hated it), a landmark of the French cinema. She also wrote many plays, but they are rarely produced in America, for reasons I would guess are exemplified by “Savannah Bay.” (See those adjectives above — or at least the first three of them.) The play’s two characters are Marguerite (Geneviève Mnich), who appears to be in her 60s or so, and a character identified only as the young woman (strictly speaking, “Jeune femme” in the English version of the text), played by Marie Vialle. The spare set, by Jean Haas, consists primarily of a wooden pier raised just a few inches off the ground, on which Marguerite and the young woman trade mysterious remarks, circling around and even re-enacting a tragedy in the past.