The Playgoer: Love, Suicide and the Flu

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Love, Suicide and the Flu




How often do you see Chikamatsu performed these days? Not too. But the wonderful and inventive Lucas Hnath (do you know him? You should!) has been adaptating Love Suicides at the Women’s Temple. The show has taken different forms, but the most recent is advertised as a “SAKE TASTING WITH A SEANCE TO FOLLOW.” How could you say no? Working through the conventions of:

-the work in progress as a form
-the open rehearsal
-the séance
-magic/illusionism/sleight of hand

the show becomes an inspirational look at both theater (in its best, broadest sense) and the ideas that we carry about what—and how far—we can imagine. It’s a bright and fresh piece and I predict you’ll hear more about it, so keep your ears open.

As the nostalgic pangs of autumn begin to tingle, perhaps you’re getting ready to abandon summer blockbusters and snuggle up with some tasty play-reading? Well, then be glad you are reading so that I can write: The Flu Season and other plays. TCG recently assembled three of Will Eno’s plays—The Flu Season, Intermission and Tragedy: A Tragedy—into one great read. It was published at summer’s start, but I just got to it on Wednesday, thanks to an on-it former student (thanks HJS!). Eno’s generous and incisive humor are on display in this collection, together with his love of the small, telling detail. For me, it is the absurd but perfectly sensible turns of phrase that really makes the reading so enjoyable and able to be heard while reading--“Well, we’ll be tossing and turning with you, staying right here on top of things, trying to get to the bottom of all this, to find some lesson leaned...” The plays work within a tight structure that develops a language fluid enough to embrace the illogical reason that underwrites human experience. It’s grand and good and winning.

Last, St. Mark’s Books reading series happily brought together Richard Foreman and Hilton Als at Solas bar last eve. It was quite a talk, more about it later…I hope!

Until then, and as the weekend approaches, follow Will Eno’s advice:
“Quit asking why it’s so dark and be glad it ever got light in the first place…”

1 comment:

Jenny Phresh said...

Chris Mills, guest blogger, rocks!
Love the final quote.