Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category

The Voice in Your Ear

August 19, 2016

Why does the voice in your ear seem so much more intimate than the image in your eye?

Partly, we’re conditioned to it: someone leans in and whispers in your ear: it’s secret; confidential.

I’ve been FaceTiming regularly with a friend; our conversations have been intimate. I enjoy seeing my friend leaning forward in the FaceTime frame on my laptop screen, listening intently or speaking. But one day when my friend’s FaceTime wasn’t working and we spoke on the phone, my friend’s voice alone, coming directly into my ear, felt infinitely more intimate.

1939 Brit soldier & girlfriend

The same thing happened with a livestream of The Encounter—a play collaboratively developed by the British theater company Complicite, directed and performed by its artistic director, Simon McBurney—from the Barbican Theater, London. Coming soon to Broadway, The Encounter—two hours of one man on a bare but cluttered stage—involves you in an elaborate soundscape that, if you let it, completely enmeshes you with the voice in your ear. (more…)

Jerusalem: the Play by Jez Butterworth

August 5, 2011

Do we  believe that Johnny “Rooster” Byron is having sex with Phaedra, the 15-year-old girl he’s sheltering from the stepfather who has apparently been sexually abusing her? And, if we do, how come we don’t think Johnny’s abusing her, too? Or do we?

These questions go to the heart of what makes this play so interesting and disturbing—and the answer is only partly that Mark Rylance embodies Johnny as such a vivid life force that we might almost forgive him anything.

Painted Wooden Roof Boss from Rochester Cathedral, Kent (Medieval)

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Black Watch and the End of Modern Warfare

November 22, 2008

I’d read the reviews; I knew Black Watch, the hit National Theater of Scotland production now in its second run at St. Ann’s Warehouse, is about serving in Iraq, that it was developed using the actual stories of real soldiers and that it’s a bravura ensemble production. What I didn’t understand until I saw it is that it’s the story of the fabled, almost-three-centuries-old Black Watch Regiment that, in 2006, was “amalgamated” with 5 other Scottish regiments—and that this marked more than the end of a “great tradition”. At the very end of the play, when a disaffected soldier tells his officer why he’s not staying on in the army, I realized that the end of this regiment, which served as a mercenary force all over the world and fought in both world wars, coincides with the end of the whole concept of professional soldiering on which modern warfare has depended. Read on