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6. Second-Time Playwright: Performance

May 13, 2011

It will be a short premiere run, five performances and that is it. I’m not on hand for the final show; this fourth will be the best I can manage. As luck—or is it other odds, the result of hard work and dedication to an art?—will have it, it is the best I am likely to see under any circumstances.

It’s not an easy play to act in, I understand that now. There is a give-and-take between two self-absorbed people that resembles a conversation, but is not. The characters Jane and John may well look their parts, the subtle movements of the bartender Sam around the stage may direct the attention of the audience where it should be, but these are less than half the show. Here, timing is everything.

There is no allowance for a missed beat, a flawed inflecion. And in this near-perfect performance, there is no need of one. The alternating lines come crisp and clear. In twenty short minutes the two break through their defenses, retreat, and in the final shining moment break through for good.

At least that’s how it seemed to the playwright at the back of the theatre. And he should know.

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