Wednesday, October 01, 2008

quick reaction to *Blackbird*

by Glaswegian playwright David Harrower
at Artists Rep, 15th and Morrison, Portland, thru Oct. 12
The premise: Ray, then 40, had a three-month affair 15 years ago with Una.
When she was 12.
Now they're 55 and 27 -- and he's done time, moved away, changed his name, gotten a job, may or may not be in a relationship with another woman.
It'd almost be better not to know all this at the outset: the opening minutes are cryptic in an engaging way: What exactly is the relattionship between these two people?
Oh, those damn critics, giving everything away all the time.
An employees' lunch room, trashed. Una's the aggressor at first - she sought him out. He's the one who's scared and vulnerable now.
Beautifully, poetically written. The same motifs keep cropping up -- both of them were loners, both of them want affection.
After Mary Kay LeTourneau, who's to say? But Ray did something that was very, very wrong.
After-play discussion touched on the sexualization of young girls.
My daughter turns 12 next week.
Great surprise ending, thought-provoking.
A.D. Allen Nause as Ray, rubbing his eyes constantly, twitchy, pleading.
Harrower deliberately creates ambiguity. Una's tremendous guilt; shamed by her mother and neighbors. He was in jail 3 1/2 years; she's been abused for 15 years.
Much discussion of the title. Program reprints Beatles song and several others. Harrower said in interview he was listening to jazz pianist Keith Jarrett spin variations on the Beatles tune, thought of how many ways he could spin conversational topics to keep these two people, abuser and abused, talking to each other and in the same room. Actress here, Amaya ???, revealed that Harrower also said he thought of St. Benedict, who had nightmares about blackbirds, which he interpreted as undesirable, sinful thoughts and urges. Ray's rubbing his eyes: ravens of vengeance may also come peck out his eyes. (Una says that's what she's wanted to do all these years, peck out his eyes.
It'd be great to teach this alongside Lolita and How I Learned To Drive. Of Pinter's plays, it's most like Betrayal, or maybe Old Times.
Bobo has to learn to watch plays and not write about them.–-2009-season/blackbird.aspx

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