|The Wind Cries Mary|
Eiko likes it that hubby Raymond is weak and naive; it makes it easy for her to manipulate and insult him, which she does so copiously and blatantly that it becomes offputting. Ibsen's Hedda was no pussycat, God knows, but Eiko's Dragon Lady routine makes Hedda look like Donna Reed (a name Gotanda often throws around, by the way--shorthand for 60s middle-class conformity).
Eiko's failure to join the anti-war and civil rights protests are what ultimately lead to her self-destruction, the playwright would have us believe. Caught between two cultures, East and West, unable to triumph over her own flaws and act with courage (rather than cunning), Eiko brings disaster down on herself-- and on the only man she has ever truly loved, Miles (Kelvin Han Yee), a political firebrand whose drug habit is so bad he needs a keeper (Rachel, played by Kamila Abdullayeva).
Sab Shimono, as a smug, smarmy professor with a lech for Eiko, rounds out the excellent cast. Director Lisa Peterson, usually so reliable, has taken THE WIND, essentially a family drama, and tried to make it seem larger and more important than it is by giving it a high, formal style. The idea doesn't work.
At East West Players, 120 John Aiso St., through Feb. 29. Call (213) 625-7000 x20 or visit eastwestplayers.org