Monday, August 20, 2018

Weekly Margin 2018, W33: Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties

8/17/18: Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties
What: The play's full title, per the poster and playbill, is Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties; In essence, a queer and occasionally hazardous exploration; do you remember when you were in middle school and you read about Shackleton and how he explored the Antarctic?; imagine the Antarctic as a pussy and it's sort of like that. This long conversational title is a good clue to the additive and irreverent storytelling style of Jen Silverman's play. Five women, all named Betty, and connected daisy-chain style to each other, come together to create a devised theater piece inspired by the Pyramus and Thisbe play-within-a-play of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and discover themselves in the process.
And? I don't quite know how to talk about this show but I will say that I was delighted. I'll also say that while what I wrote above could technically be the plot, it's not really what the show is about. It eschews traditionally plot beats, but gives instead a collection of scenes, strange and earnest, silly and absurd, of the Betties interacting, discovering themselves. I think if you're a big theater nerd like me, you'll adore this, too. Protip: above the playing space are projected the scene title names, which stack their clauses until they're as long as the play's full title. Sitting in the second row, I had difficulty tipping my head up and catching everything, so I'd recommend sitting a bit farther back.

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