Sunday, November 18, 2012
KAREN ALLEN IN A SUMMER DAY
Just came back from the city after seeing with my teenage son my old friend Karen Allen pull off a theatrical tour de force. Her character in A SUMMER DAY carries and is the center of the play, and the role demands some of the longest and most difficult—linguistically, emotionally and theatrically—monologues of any theater piece that wasn't a one man show I've ever experienced.
A SUMMER DAY by Jon Fosse is translated and directed by Sarah Cameron Sunde. The translation, not knowing the original, seems pretty fluid and accessible and well executed. The direction seems at times a little uneven. But nothing gets in the way of Karen Allen's performance which is both poignant and disturbing, I had tears in my eyes almost from her first words.
It's not an easy play, it has a Beckett-like (and all who descend from his unique theatrical innovations like Pinter et. al.) deceptive simplicity. Not as intellectually challenging as Beckett, or Pinter for that matter perhaps, A SUMMER DAY is a long one act that maybe could be more easily compared to some of the minimalist composers like Terry Riley's piece called as I remember it something like "in C" because that is the repetitive note and key and this play has a similar kind of thematic focus and insistence on one event and the resonance of its aftermath.
Simply put, A SUMMER DAY is a meditation on loss worth seeing for Karen Allen's performance. It's at The Cherry Lane Theater for a run extended to Dec. 8th, if you're anywhere near New York in the next few weeks.
[PS: Here's a link to the NY Times review of the play and here's another to a NY Times interview with Karen about her acting in the play.]