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Just the latest “why don’t I live in New York City?” moment November 17, 2008

Posted by LHK in Uncategorized.

A British theater company has adapted Virginia Woolf’s The Waves (one of my favorite novels!) into a multimedia stage play.

The Waves is a series of stream-of-consciousness monologues by six different characters. I maintain that the best way to experience the novel is to read the whole darned thing out loud, as I did several years ago. (To be fair, I was marooned in my apartment in Japan at the time, recovering from a running injury. I had nothing but time and headspace to fill.) As the review of this production notes, one might expect a stage play of The Waves to be little more than six different readers dramaticizing the monologues, with moody music played in between. But this one goes far beyond that, and I am jealous jealous jealous of anyone who gets to see it:

While one performer reads from the script, others are occupied in rendering the sights and sounds described in the play’s interior monologues. And surely no ensemble in New York is as multifarious as this one, which works with drill-team precision. Each member appears equally at home in the roles of narrator, silent-movie actor, camera operator, sound-effects maker and on-the-spot dresser and set decorator.

Homemade devices like a bowl filled with water, a fragment of lace or a leafy branch are used to frame faces and body parts, which are then projected in simulcast video to suggest a child peering through foliage, a boy peeking through a window or a terrified girl staring into a puddle. (The performers put on only bits of period costumes — a sleeve or a collar, say — depending on how much is included in the camera frame.) At the same time other performers are shuffling their shoes on stones, perhaps, or flapping sheets or running a finger around the edge of a partly filled glass.

It’s only playing in New York through Saturday. I haven’t checked, but I’d bet you a lot of money that this production ain’t makin’ it to Atlanta.

(I do get to see John Hodgman speak tonight, though. You know, the PC guy from the Mac commercials?)



1. Grainne - November 20, 2008

I saw it in Dublin and it was amazing! All the fantastic “effects” that they created onstage, right there in front of you, in real-time were so creative and so simple. It was almost like a radio play with visuals, a description that doesn’t really do it justice because it was just magical. I was blown away by it!

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