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Psychological Miller: 'Broken Glass' at Pico Playhouse

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Michael Bofshever and Susan Angelo in Broken Glass. (Photo by Hope Oklahoma courtesy of West Coast Jewish Theatre)
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Broken Glass, Arthur Miller's retrospective look at Jewish identity, pre-war psychology, and dysfunctional small group dynamics is currently playing at Pico Playhouse. Presented by the West Coast Jewish Theatre, the plot follows the disintegration of two marriages in Brooklyn at the time of Germany's 1938 Kristallnacht. Broken Glass is a doctor-driven whodunit with a thick, waxing plot and complex characters featuring pithy performances, an inviting set, and the crisp direction of Elina de Santos.

Michael Bofshever gives an excellent, painstakingly-crafted performance as the manifold and tortured Phillip Gellburg. Bofshever injects each of his lines with carefully calculated non-verbal language, tenderness, and a succinctly driven voice. His stage presence is a once meek and bold -- a perfect interpretation of Miller's character. The role of Sylvia Gellburg, which requires the convincing portrayal of a complicated, manipulating personality, is skillfully and intuitively played by Susan Angelo. Stephan Burleigh is a natural Dr. Harry Hyman that fluidly moves the plot with calculated scrutiny, warm persistence, and gentle regard. As an aside, the kiss shared by Harry and Margaret Hyman (played by Peggy Dune), is surely deserving of some sort of best-theatrical-kiss-of-the-year award.

Broken Glass is playing through Sunday, April 17, 2011 at Pico Playhouse, located at 10508 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90064. Tickets can be obtained online through West Coast Jewish Theatre or via phone at 323-860-6620.