Wednesday, February 24, 2010
In Greek tragedies, the juicy stuff happens off-stage, and then someone tells us about it. But what really happens? Can the storytellers be trusted? In Blind, Craig Wright explores perhaps the juiciest off-stage scene of all: Oedipus and Jocasta facing the fact that they are son and mother. Setting the play in contemporary times (cell phones figure prominently), Wright gives us much that is interesting and thought-provoking but also, unfortunately, much that sets the audience tittering (when the blind Oedipus tries desperately to dial a number on his cell phone, it is hard not to guffaw). Wright's dialogue is frequently overdone; the characters talk a lot in language that I can only think to call high-falutin'. Sometimes it works--Oedipus and Jocasta should be different than--larger than--life, but some pruning wouldn't hurt. Lucie Tiberghien's direction has strengths (she smartly chooses to have the characters talk like people instead of intoning their lines) and weaknesses (Oedipus's blocking once he's blind brings to mind a kid peeking through a blindfold). Veanne Cox and Seth Numrich give valiant, exhausting performances; Danielle Slavick is not able to make much out of her underdeveloped character. While there is much wrong with Blind (sadly, more than is right), I'm glad I saw it---watching talented people take chances is one of the glories of theatre.