Thorsten appeared in many stage productions at the Hilberry Theatre, a unique graduate repertory theater in Detroit. Reviews of some of these producations are available here.
Above: As Eilert Loevborg in Hedda Gabler
Canadian intellectuals I have known disagree over what the world's troubles really are, but they share a sardonic willingness to apply the Serenity Prayer to geopolitics. They know that, in the grand scheme of things, the difference between what their underpowered country can and can't change in the world is vast.
So it's not surprising that George F. Walker, Canada's most cerebral playwright, is attracted to Bazarov, the doctor and intellectual anarchist who is the principal character in Ivan Turgenev's 1859 novel, Fathers and Sons. Walker's play, Nothing Sacred, now on at the Hilberry, is based loosely on the novel.
In Nothing Sacred, Bazarov is a free-floating pundit who moves easily through the disintegrating social order of czarist Russia - gently chiding the landowners, as represented by the family of his buddy Arkady, and speaking up for the serfs when doing so doesn't require much effort.
In the Hilberry's version, Bazarov is played by Thorsten Kaye, who has the kind of mellow voice and pleasing English accent that were made to record books on tape. Like everyone else in the play, he lives in a perpetual, wry Chekovian malaise as he trades knowing comments on the brutal rituals of class struggle with both oppressors and the oppressed.
What Walker is getting at in Nothing Sacred is never quite clear, but the heart of the matter seems to be in the clash between Bazarov and Pavel, Arkady's foppish uncle (played amusingly by Michael S. Ouimet), who wears powder and nail polish and otherwise dotes on what he believes to be English high fashion. At the insistence of Pavel, the two fight a duel, a silly European ritual that stops being funny when the consequences become dire.
The Hilberry cast is poised and well-spoken in this spare production. Happily, director Blair Vaughn Anderson avoids the heavy absurdist tone that is sometimes imposed on Walker's dense comedies.
Anderson thinks enough of Walker to let him speak for himself. If we don't get it - well, that's the playwright's problem.