Saturday, May 12, 2007

Uneasy on the ear

I realized that I've been talking about a lot of expansive and expensive spectacles lately, but one of the most rewarding shows of the past few months is playing in a small downtown venue, the East 13th Street Theater, and you can get tickets for $25 (and Mondays is pay-what-you-will at the door.)

David Cote really nailed the language in Jenny Schwartz's new God's Ear when he described it as "a cross between Gertrude Stein and Hallmark cards." The play doesn't make it easy for the audience and is bound to leave people very divided: I was mesmerized by it while the Sheila loathed it—she kept digging her nails into my arm in frustration during the show. But I think that if you have an interested in language and if you are willing to give in to the words' rhythm, God's Ear (presented by the New Georges company) is a keen choice. Anne Kauffman's staging is taut and inventive, making the most of a clever set that physically suggests the subterranean currents and eddies roiling the characters' lives beneath the surface banality of their verbiage. It helps that Schwartz and Kauffman get the likes of Christina Kirk (whose virtuosic delivery of a real aria of a monolog does not get in the way of its heartwrenching impact) and Annie McNamara (who displays real comic chops in a supporting role) to deliver those words, of course.

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