You may be interested to know that the author, David Harrower, allowed alterations to be made to the version published, and presumably staged, in the United States. These referred mainly to specific locations which were removed for the US audience. Sadly, this introduces some ambiguity as the drama unfolds and is not only unnecessary but also, in my opinion, possibly an example of cultural hegemony. We saw the original UK version on the stage and read the amended US version. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving….
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They make an alarming entrance, these two, setting off instant worry and wonder. They walk as if welded together, though whether in support, restraint or combat is unclear.
Her eyes are wild and her bare legs wobbly, and he leads their stuttering steps with an angry, obdurate chin. What follows is definitely fraught, with the sort of acting that triggers seismometers. The satisfaction factor is somewhat lower.
When I saw it nine years ago at the Manhattan Theater Club, it left me shaking. So I was steeled to have the breath knocked out of me once more. After all, this latest incarnation of Mr.
It has the same accomplished director Joe Mantello and set designer Scott Pask. Most important, it has the same leading man, Jeff Daniels , who in delivered what felt like the performance of his career. Daniels is still first-rate as Ray.
And Ms. But it often registers as the kind of commitment you associate with institutionalization in mental wards. At times, it intriguingly suggests the flip side of Ms. But this interpretation also begins the production at a fever pitch that can only sweat itself out. Daniels, as good as he is, is forced to emote up to Ms.
When the production reaches its no-holds-barred climax, which involves the trashing of Mr. Daniels and Ms. Williams have already been there, done that, and so have we. Sometimes, though, a flawed production allows you to observe the virtues of a play more clearly than a perfect one does.
Being less invested viscerally means you can see the compositional bones beneath the flesh of the performance. Harrower has said he was inspired by news accounts of an American ex-Marine who eloped with a year-old British girl whom he met on the Internet.
Harrower stakes out a middle ground between dispassionate observation and aching empathy. And that this is the grimmest tragedy of all, one that they can neither willingly embrace nor even find the words for. But when such lines are delivered with the sputtering frenzy that accompanies them here, they come to seem less like a reflection of the unspeakable than a by-product of uncontrolled rage. Daniels behaves like an aggrieved, aging prizefighter backed into a corner of the ring.
But the dialogue assumes the blurry, unpleasant loudness that brings to mind strangers fighting on the streets. Later, as Ray and Una start to fill in the blanks for each other of what happened in the immediate aftermath of their last encounter, you start to listen more attentively.
Williams has some beautiful moments here. Note the surprised stillness that overtakes her when she admits that there were certain details of her relationship with Ray that she never divulged to the police. And throughout, Mr. Daniels is vibrantly ambiguous — a beleaguered and terrified mediocrity, made larger somehow by a monstrous act, whose deepest motives remain obscure, probably even to himself.
Harrower has provided both Una and Ray with gorgeous, unsettling memory monologues about being lost in a claustrophobic village to which they escaped. Brian MacDevitt did the crafty lighting. Williams seems utterly credible as the frightened, determined preadolescent that Una once was. Suddenly, we feel the tug of the black hole in which she has been floating and floundering for a very long 15 years. If only this production could make space more consistently for that gaping sense of absence, of a wound that will always remain open in two irreparably damaged lives.
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My Old Sweetheart
Blackbird is a play written in by Scottish playwright David Harrower. It was inspired in part by the crimes of sex offender Toby Studebaker , and depicts a young woman meeting a middle-aged man fifteen years after being sexually abused by him when she was twelve. David Harrower's Blackbird is not to be confused with the Adam Rapp play of the same name. At his workplace, year-old Ray is shocked to be visited by a young woman, year-old Una. Fifteen years earlier, they had a sexual relationship for three months when Una was 12 and Ray was 40; subsequently, Ray had been jailed for three years for statutory rape. She got worried and left to find him, which led to both of them frantically searching for one another and raising suspicions within the small coastal town where they were staying. Eventually, a couple out walking their dog took Una in and called the police after learning why she was there.
Review: ‘Blackbird’: The Past Returns, Taunting
Sitting in a Glasgow bar on a slow weekday lunchtime, he squints doubtfully at me. The author of seven original plays, plus a scattering of adaptations, he is often called the most talented Scottish playwright of his generation. But he is also one of the hardest to pin down. A decade later, he came to broader attention with Blackbird , a jagged depiction of an encounter between a man in his mids and a woman in her late 20s in which it becomes apparent that they had a relationship when she was Although it could barely be clearer that she has been abused, the drama is somehow, queasily, a love story.