Rodrigo Nogueira, who is already well-established in his native Brazil as a major playwright, also active in cinema and television, introduced himself to New York audiences last spring with his play, The Ideal Obituary, which I reviewed enthusiastically. Now, just at the beginning of the new year, he is back, with another offbeat and absorbing creation, Real. In The Ideal Obituary Mr. Nogueira explored the stranger workings of the human mind. He showed us how the well-intentioned efforts of a loving husband to cure his wife’s severe depression ironically led the couple to a more functional and seemingly happier situation which eventually passed through the most basic laws of morality up to a life or death decision. The human mind and soul follow their own irrational logic.
There are not so many opportunities left to see Rodrigo Nogueira's The Ideal Obituary (at The Tank, March 16, 17, 22, 23 and 24), and, in the interests of getting the word out as soon as possible, this review will be shorter than this rich, multifaceted play deserves. Returning home directly from the performance, I find myself buzzing with thoughts and feelings about what I have just seen. Mr. Nogueira has an impressive track record back in his native Brazil, with 15 plays and 5 musicals, as well as books and screenplays. Now he has decided to move to New York. This is his first play since his move, which he wrote in English, as a complete rewrite of a rather different play he wrote some years ago in Portuguese. He manages his adopted language brilliantly, most impressively in the doubles entendres which are not only a major part of the play's diction, but the resulting misunderstandings become pivots on which the story turns.