Director Jay Scheib premiered a both film and play this week—only they’re the same piece. Scheib adapted an unfinished Chekhov play, and while the theatrical performance was happening downtown at the Kitchen, Scheib was simultaneously filming and editing a film version that would be playing in theaters all over the city.
I was really excited to see The Disinherited, the film version of the event. (The play version goes by the play’s original title, Platonov.) While simulcasting theatrical performances isn’t new, Platonov/The Disinherited offers a different experience: taking in one story in two distinct mediums simultaneously. It is an intriguing premise, and one I hope other artists consider and utilize in their own work.*
Mainly because The Disinherited is, unfortunately, painful to watch. The title sequence and opening credits hint at a movie, but the earnest, wide-eyed performances indicate something much more theatrical is going on. Meanwhile, the shaky-cam cinematography skews toward an amateurish home video more than an indie film. The Disinherited‘s main failing, however, is that a comprehensible story never seems to be told—and that’s necessary for any artistic narrative, regardless of medium.
Charles Isherwood attended the live performance of Platonov, and in his review says,
For newcomers to Mr. Scheib’s wacky world, the moviegoing route might be a more comfortable choice. At least then you have the option of fleeing this indulgent experiment without trampling on the sensibilities of the talented performers. Maybe you could even sneak into something more palatable: “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” is currently an option at the AMC Empire 25.
Mr. Isherwood, I have to confess that I was one of those moviegoers who fled The Disinherited after twenty minutes. While I can’t confirm or deny if I snuck into something “more palatable,” I can say that “Anchorman 2” is pretty damn good.