Theater: Ergo

This play by Jakov Lind, an Austrian Jew who now lives in London, is a brutal, bitter, boring and unsubtle savaging of German—or is it Western?—culture. Fortunately, it is also a brilliant production, supervised by Central Park's old Shakespeare wallah, Joseph Papp.

Ergo consists of a series of episodic developments in the rivalry between a lusty, gusty bum called Wacholder, who wallows in a mountainous litter of crumpled papers and stacked cartons, and his neighbor Wurz. An obsessive-compulsive bacteriophobe, Wurz even dresses in a sterile white jump suit and dons a surgical mask and...