It is only appropriate that playwright Laura Eason chooses to reflect on the millennial obsession and consumption of authentic selfhood through psychological realism, a form that exposes private and supposedly authentic humanness. Literally walled off in a remote house and then, during act two, in an apartment, actors Leeanne Hutchison and Darian Dauchan strive to imitate authentic privacy through theatre. Their characters, Olivia and Ethan, aspire to achieve this by writing fiction, and, both character and actor, inevitably by social media. So the play dialogues inwards, towards a generation where pressure to authentically be (and perform) one’s self is supreme, monetized and burns through relationships. Sex With Strangers’ political effect is potent but undecided, and ultimately, like its form, a dialogue in itself.
It took a little bit of cajoling and self-conscious laughter at first. But by the end of the evening, each time Marc Bamuthi Joseph ended a stream of rhapsodic, rhythmic poetry with “word word,” the audience, as if cued by magic, came in with their response: “word word.”
In In The Spoken World, presented by the Kitchen Theater last weekend, Bamuthi journeyed through dazzling landscape of movement and sound, in a poetic exploration of what it means to be a part of a race, a family, and a community.
Samuel Beckett isn’t for everyone. His novels are vast, nearly un-peopled monologues, an obsessive-compulsive’s droning echo chambers, which depict the struggle to keep oneself upright and hygienic in a bleak, mundane, thoroughly contaminated solipsistic mindscape. Admittedly, I have tried to read several of Beckett’s novels, only to abandon them half-way. Each time I begin one anew, I start to feel like one of his characters: haggardly trying to go on with a dim resolve, keeping a faith that I know will fail me, waiting for something (anything!) to happen.