15 November 2006

Backwards and Forwards

Not without ambivalence, I bust out the t-shirt again, this time having seen The Clean House at Lincoln Center.

To get right to the point, it is an incredibly misguided production of an incredibly beautiful play. I've never had such a fractured experience of a play, watching the production while a parallel vision of what it could (should) have been ran simultaneously in my mind.

In what should be one of the most beautiful moments of the play, a man says to his soulmate, Ana, whom he's just met, "Your name is the same backwards as it is forwards." This isn't a man so stupefied by infatuation that he snickers at a palindrome like a stoner (which is, of course, how the line was read). Your name is the same backwards as it is forwards. He's talking about fate, and time, and perfection, marveling at the deep symmetry of the universe. But none of that came across.

The whole production was like that. Overwrought, trampling the simple and delicate poetry beyond recognition. Opportunities for beautiful, moving subtlety - the projected stage directions ("They fall in love," "Lane experiences a deep desire to order the world") which would have been so beautiful if not forcefully acted out - were completely lost, wasted. This is a more subdued Sarah than in Eurydice, less whimsy and (as some would say) preciousness. But the poetry is still the same. I just wish it had gotten an equally sensitive treatment, rather than this mangling, which is so much less than it deserved.

1 comment:

Adam said...

I felt the same way. It was painful.