Artists' Rep has an affinity for strange shows, and "Small Mouth Sounds" is among the strangest. A significant portion of the show takes place in silence, meaning that it relies for a long period of time on nothing but the actors' physicality. Fortunately, Artists Rep's formidable ensemble is more than up to the task. This should come as no surprise, given that both Michael Mendelson and John San Nicholas starred as monkeys in "Trevor", but it does.
When the silent period stops, the second-most unexpected element of the show is its dark humor. It was this dark humor which led me to misinterpret the play's very oblique ending. It makes reference to a parable earlier in the show, but if you only remember half of it, as I did, you'll miss the brighter point. I don't feel badly, though. In my post-show discussion with an usher about it, she had to consult the director. As I said, the full parable has a much more hopeful spin, and it is welcome. "Small Mouth Sounds" is for the more adventurous among you.
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Sunday, October 7, 2018
The greatest asset of "A Life" is its engaging lead, Nat DeWolf. He is an animated storyteller. He is instantly likeable. There are also touches within the script that are unique and funny. (The offstage character who screams someone's name constantly outside the apartment.) At times, it can feel like too little is going on, but I think the ordinariness is intentional, but it begins to wear on you slightly. My favorite Bock play was "A Small Fire" and it is similarly-themed in that we see a woman experience a kind of death, as she wastes away from dementia, and the ordinary seems all the more urgent, and heartbreaking. I wished for more of that herre.
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