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The eternal burden Feb 20, 2015

by LoraBeth Barr

The weight of the room is palpable when Beatrice begins telling a story that is clearly not her own. A story full of vivid images, from a Native American man walking into the kitchen unannounced to a struggle with a dying man and his catheter.  And when I say the room I mean, not the fictional place depicted on stage made of cardboard walls and utilitarian furniture, I mean the witnesses of the evening, the audience who bare the eternal burden of watching these actors pretending not to pretend.

I call it a burden because the nature or existential theater is isolating and depressing, with an emphasis on individual will over the whole. The Evening depicts a struggle between three archetypes; Asi, a fighter  Beatice, a wanderer and Cosmo, a person who has given up, stuck in a lonely bar where even the live rock band is dampened by the oppressive lingering weight of aloneness.

I wonder if it is the acting style or the material that creates this weight and I’m curious to see more of Maxwell’s work before making huge assumptions about his ‘no artifice’ approach. I agree with Maxwell’s sentiment that actors are not obliged to pretend to feel something especially when they are telling a story, just as Beatrice tells the story in the prologue. Simply saying the words can be enough. But when you add other characters and music and beer and call it a play I am left wanting more. I am left wanting the actors fierce imagination to take the burden off of me take me on a ride.

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