Sunday, August 24, 2008

From The Inside, Out

The narrative spine of this play by Maggie Keenan-Bolger, in which she portrays herself and dramatizes her highly personal struggle with self-injury, is essentially a conversation with her father that leads up to her confession that she cuts herself; the scene keeps freezing so that Maggie can leave it and gather her courage, usually by re-visiting moments from her past. The theatrical conceit goes a long way toward enlivening the show, helping to keep the play from becoming overly dry while it informs, and the play certainly enlightens as it intends about the motivations of self-injurers. (Often, the motivation is to make emotional pain visible; it can't be talked about, so the pain needs to be seen.) The play is constructed to build to the breakthrough when Maggie tells us what her deepest, unspeakable pain is, but that bare honest moment comes in a projected video segment. There's thematic validity to presenting it in that way, but the price is that it unfortunately makes the final moments in the play remote.

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