Alberto Moravia's "Beatrice Cenci" is one of those plays in which the lines are all too descriptive of what's going on in the theater itself. "Everything I do is drenched in boredom," says one of the characters. "Enough dark, hostile tones. It's all tedious to me."
Very few of the lines in this tale of Renaissance child abuse and patricide are as perceptive as those. Many of them are almost literally unspeakable.
Nevertheless, the actors of Georgetown Classical Theater are trying gamely to speak them in the American premiere of "Beatrice" at ASTA Theater. It's a losing effort.
Angus Davidson's English translation is deadly. Lines like "I sought to mollify the cold rigidity of his fury" abound. They must have sounded better in Italian.
Davidson can't be blamed for everything, however. Moravia's script is packed with solemn posturing and with windy descriptions of offstage events. The GCT actors and director haven't begun to cut back the fat. This is a long three hours.
It's hard to believe this is the same outfit that produced a nifty little "Good Woman of Setzuan" last month. And it's hard to fathom why a "classical theater" would stage "Beatrice Cenci," which dates back all of 20 years. The classicism here is strictly ersatz.