The Offending Gesture, 2016

Noble Wolf

The offending gesture in Mac Wellman’s dizzying new play “The Offending Gesture” was the Nazi “Heil Hitler” salute, but it was the Nazis who were offended. In the incredible true story, which historians only recently uncovered, a Finnish businessman named Tor Borg had taught his dog Jackie to raise his paw in imitation of the salute whenever he said “Heil Hitler.” Third Reich authorities were outraged at what they perceived to be an insult, and summoned a meeting with authorities in Finland, a nation that was a Nazi ally.

Hitler, here called Noble Wolf (which is what “Adolf” means), is played hilariously by Layla Khoshnoudi with a combination of stridency and idiocy that would fit a lot of world leaders, then and now – NYT (Critic’s Pick)

. . . the performance of Layla Khoshnoudi, who takes what could have been played as a stock character (Hitler as fool) and so fully embodies it that she becomes in essence a demonstration of Wellman’s enigmatic language itself – each contradiction and failure to communicate on Noble Wolf’s part pushes through and past the surface comedy to reveal that which always must lie within great comedy – the truth of the tragedy underneath.   – CultureBot