“The House of Shadows” follows the life of a struggling writer, billed in the play as the Learned Man (Peter K. Bestoso ’14), who longs to be remembered, both as a writer but also as a human being. He claims that a former lover was the only thing that made him feel alive. His shadow (Bryan D. Kauder ’14) acts as a physical manifestation of the writer’s hopes and dreams so can experience life in a way that the agoraphobic writer cannot. […].
“The House of Shadows” is heavily influenced by the work and life stories of both Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen and American playwright Charles Mee. Andersen’s short story “The Shadow”—which provided McTaggart’s play with its name—deals with issues of belonging and loss of innocence, and this dualism is brilliantly embodied by McTaggart’s direction. The Shadow is caught by a desperate desire to experience life independently from the Learned Man, but does not know how to do this. Just like a shadow, Kauder mimics Bestoso’s actions, in one scene moving perfectly in sync with his fellow actor. As the play progresses, he breaks free from Bestoso and begins to move of his own accord. McTaggart’s decision to visually demonstrate the link between the two characters was made all the more effective in the scene in which this connection is severed and the Shadow becomes a full-fledged person.
Kauder brilliantly embodied both the new powers and limitations his character experiences when becoming human. His gestures conveyed both the power and fear that comes with forming your own independent existence. When he finally breaks free of his reliance on the Man, Kauder reveals the inner turmoil his character is struggling with through movements as subtle as the twinge of his jaw.
Full Review of “Monstrous Doubles” (incl. The House of Shadows and [ ]’s Monster): http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/4/17/review-monstrous-doubles/