Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dare I open this Pandora's Box?

In reviewing Tiny Alice at Marin Theatre Company this week, I encountered a new critical quandary: how to discuss extremely intellectual plays—especially when I'm pretty sure I don't understand them.

(Andrew Hurteau and Carrie Paff as the leads. Photo by Kevin Berne.)

For this article, I decided to just mention some of the questions the play raises, rather than go into its labyrinthine non-answers, or even really explain my confusion. Befuddlement, the program notes assured me, is par for the course, so I decided to simply acknowledge mine and move on.

But I wonder if some plays might call for more committed grappling with philosophical issues on the part of the critic. If so, which plays? Or does the depth of an article depend more on how much space you are allotted?

In any case, if you're curious, the production continues through June 26. Info here.

Today I'm off to Texas, where I'll see a production of my favorite play by the writer who will probably be the subject of my master's thesis: The Shipment, by Young Jean Lee, at Dallas's Undermain Theatre. More soon!

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