Bobby Fischer, a strange, tragic genius, widely considered to be the greatest chess player the world has ever known. Fischer beat everyone he played, and then he retired from the game, became a recluse and more and more radicalized politically, eventually loosing his US citizenship because of it and settling in Iceland, where he was given asylum and where this play is set.
What a story…
The play is constructed around a chess game. With Bobby Fischer insisting that he play one final game at the Icelandic chess club he frequents. Bobby is played by Robert Weiner, Andreas, the owner of a chess club in Iceland frequented by Fischer, is played by Matt Weinglass, and Hunter, an enigmatic character who wants nothing but to play Fischer at his own game and win, is played by Palmer Davis.
Bobby Fischer became, shall we say, ‘politically incorrect’ throughout his later years, putting him at odds with most polite society and the US government, and this is where we find him, bitter, paranoid, lonely and confused, and still searching for something, some meaning perhaps to his strange life.
Robert Weiner plays Fischer with a tense, uncomfortable passion.
He twitches his way through his increasing bizarre encounters with Hunter and Andreas. And as the play proceeds it feels more and more like everything we are watching is actually happening entirely inside Bobby Fischer’s mind.
Palmer Davis takes a difficult role, as the counter to Bobby’s rantings, and turns in a sublime and stunning performance. She is quite riveting on stage, and a powerful opposite to Fischer’s tetchy awkwardness. Matt Wienglass as Andreas is equally impressive, a large presence on stage both physically and emotionally, it was a treat to watch him sweep the floor while tussling with Bobby Fischer’s psyche.
This is such an odd tale really, and a tale told of a very, very odd person, but this play shows us a little of what is must have been like inside the mind of Bobby Fischer, even if we could never pretend to understand it. I really enjoyed this show, it was unusual and effective and challenging intellectually. But it was also fully of humor and warmth, even for a crusty, obnoxious genius like Bobby Fischer.
If you are interested in seeing something a little different, then I highly recommend ‘The Game Against Bobby Fischer’ at The Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood.
The play will be at the theatre through March 29th
The Game Against Bobby Fischer, Written by Dennis Richard, Directed by Gregory Fuller.
The Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood
Robert Weiner - Bobby Fischer
Palmer Davis - Hunter
Matt Weinglass - Andreas
Gregory Fuller - Director/Lighting Designer
J P Green - Producer
Fae Simmons - Associate Producer
Dennis Richard - playwright