Sunday, November 21, 2010

Too Drunk--Or just Drunk Enough--to Say I Love You

First, sad news that Caryl Churchill's one-act, Drunk Enough to Say I Love You, closed today at Monkey Wrench Collective--two weeks early. MWC Artistic Director Dave Barton attributes it in large part to the fact that Orange County theatregoers don't embrace politically-themed plays (though this was not marketed as such). I countered to him that it's American audiences who don't embrace political theatre--not just OCers.
I'm familiar with Churchill's plays--saw Frances McDormand in Far Away at New York Theatre Workshop a couple of years ago. Audiences walked out mystified, and though I loved it, I can only say that I understood maybe 10% of her imagistic script. (There was, however, a fabulous scene of chained inmates forced to do a fashion show of Easter Parade-style hats!) Churchill's plays perform linguistic gymnastics--it's like the theatrical equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting.
Dave Barton thoroughly made this piece accessible and the clarity of Uncle Sam desperately seeking love from those he exploits (and tortures) in the world was an unavoidable political statement that produced shock and awe.
The few who saw it understood that, so Dave's disappointnment notwithstanding, the production was a success.

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