My friend Ian Walker’s got a show running at the Phoenix that I saw last night called FOUR BREATHS. It’s a Beckett play (PLAY), one of Ian’s plays, an Anais Nin adaptation, and a political play by a guy named Rick Burkhardt (CONVERSATION STORM).
Ian directed the Beckett play, and it was my favorite direction of this play I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen it twice, both in student productions: one where the characters (who are supposed to be in urns) were just standing on a bare stage, and one where the characters were bizarrely standing behind potted plants. (I guess it was supposed to represent urns?)
Ian’s version used lights and multimedia in a thrilling way. Moreover, the actors were really good at acting their lines while they plowed through the dialogue. Most times when you see this show, people tend to mumble in a monotone. This was riveting. Beckett rocks.
I’d seen Ian’s play before, and read the Nin adaptation, so those weren’t as much of a surprise to me. But Rick Burkhardt’s play was a real discovery. It uses a brilliant technique, where the actors announce they’re jumping around the play by saying, “Scene Four,” or “Scene Twenty” and then jumping into the middle of that scene, making the play fractured and compelling.
Afterward, we ended up my friend Joe’s and drank wine and discussed the plays until late in the night, which in my mind is the whole point of theater. So it was a very good night.