Monday, January 29, 2018

Weekly Margin, 2018 W4: The Undertaking, Miles for Mary, In the Body of the World

1/24/18: The Undertaking
What: The Civilians' founder, writer-director Steve Cosson, interviewed a variety of figures - a philosopher, an artist, a cancer survivor, and a woman who momentarily died - and assembled a multimedia two-actor dialogue exploring these perspectives, as well as the bounds of the artifice of theater, while he himself goes on his own undertaking to confront his fears connected with death and loss.
And? I really liked this one, you guys. The two actors, Aysan Celik and Dan Domingues, are excellent, imbuing each character (including the play's auteur) with such natural and understated humanity that each seems like the way they must always stand, speak, think, as opposed to one of several roles in only eighty minutes. I found the interweaving of the various perspectives on death with the ongoing dialogue between Steve and Rita compelling and engaging (and now I really want to see Cocteau's Orpheus), and the ideas explored stayed in my mind such that I went home and wrote a story about a child's rudimentary engagement with death. Definitely worth catching.

Dan Domingues and Aysan Celik (with a scene from Jean Cocteau's Orpheus).
Photo by Carol Rosegg.

1/25/18: Miles for Mary
What: In the gym room of a high school in Garrison, Ohio in 1988-1989, five teachers (with a sixth on speakerphone) plan an upcoming annual fundraising telethon.
And? Honestly, this just wasn't for me. It was well-acted and an adept demonstration of passive aggressive negotiation, but not something that I ever got into. Several of my friends were raving about it, though, so this is just one Zelda's opinion.

Stephanie Wright Thompson, Marc Bovino, Michael Dalto, Stacey Yen, and
Joe Curnutte as Sandra, Ken, David, Julie, and Rod. Photo by Sara Krulwich.

1/26/18: In the Body of the World
What: Performance artist and activist Eve Ensler explores her disconnection and eventual retaking of ownership of her body, in the context of her work in the Congo building the City of Joy, her history of abuse, and her journey through cancer treatment, in this adaptation of her memoir.
And? This woman is an absolute force of nature, and I'm so glad I finally got to see one of her works. Her piece was shocking, moving, and intimately familiar. She stands as a challenge to artists to be brave enough to be scared.

Eve Ensler. Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva.

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