Theater review: No need to revise ‘The Revisionist’

Vanessa Redgrave, left, stars alongside Jesse Eisenberg in "The Revisionist," now playing through April 21. Credit: Joan Marcus
Vanessa Redgrave, left, stars alongside Jesse Eisenberg in “The Revisionist,” now playing through April 21.
Credit: Joan Marcus

Scrawny and self-centered, David (Jesse Eisenberg, who’s also the playwright) arrives at the cramped flat of his elderly second cousin Maria (Vanessa Redgrave) in Szczecin, Poland, with a chip on his shoulder and a yen for a quick hit of weed. He tokes away with door closed and window open in Eisenberg’s beautifully crafted “The Revisionist” at the Cherry Lane. David traveled to Poland to end his writer’s block, believing, or at least hoping, that a less comfortable landscape would set his creative juices free.

But we soon see he is almost as indifferent to the hard work of writing as he is to his cousin’s feelings. In contrast, Maria seems uncomplicated. With no family in Poland, she’s thrilled with her houseguest — but not afraid to put him in his place when appropriate.

One night David breaks out the vodka and convinces Maria, who never drinks, to join him. We learn that David is not the only one with secrets. But some things are best left unsaid — at least that’s what Maria thinks, come the morning after.
“The Revisionist” draws its considerable emotional clout from its characters’ ability to rewrite their own histories. Skillfully played by both leads, they deceive themselves as much as they deceive each other. We take David’s self-involvement and Maria’s blend of strength and vulnerability at face value, but there’s more there than meets the eye. Maria’s implacable survival instincts surprise us with their intensity — even as they leave her lonely and proud.

If you go

‘The Revisionist’
Through April 21
Cherry Lane Theatre,
38 Commerce St.
$85, www.therevisionistplay.com


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.