Sunday, August 29, 2010

Closer (a play), Patrick Marber

This will be the first play I review for the site. And, I'm not sure how to deal with the review. Do I review the production? Or, the play? The playwright? The actors? Where does one start? As I've never seen a production of Closer before, I feel it is rude to critique too much on the production (which, going in I knew would be less than stellar). I went to the production for the story. I have adored Closer since the film release. Have been wanting to see the play for years. I was just excited to experience the performance as it was meant to exist.

The stripper screams about love being merely a word. It can't be touched, or heard, or seen. What is love beyond a word? In this context, Marber has placed love and religion on the same level - faith. And, what do we do with this faith in love? We just become destroyed? Jealous? Lonely? Is this a self made desire? A lost goal?

And, how can one write about questioning the concept of a word? Is the playwright not using only words to express these ideas and opinions? How does an audience react to the questioning of a word as emotion when the play is emotion as word? Are we meant to distance at this moment? To disconnect and try to study the body language? The behavior as a sociological experiment on our own definitions of words with really no deeper purpose other than sound?

The set needs to be sparse. Cold. The characters are cold. Raw. Brutally honest. At times, overly violent. Is this how people react? Is this how people talk? Of course not. But, isn't that what we admire about drama? The ability for it to say all the things we may have thought, but never had the courage to say. Is a drama no more than a matured fantasy? And this is why I prefer play over film. The play is the interaction. As an audience member we can recognize the fantasy in a way we can forget about in film. In a play, we're reminded this isn't life... but, some lesson. An experience in truth telling. In revelation. How do we respond when we watch the world more as lesson and less as experience?

The film, Closer, is brilliant. The play is brilliant. This particular production, not brilliant. Not even fresh or exciting. But, this is the pleasure of drama... it goes beyond the figures on the stage. It cuts to the word. The purist form of literature. Our own interpretations of words in place of emotions.


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