Erin @ 'The Dance of Death' - I’m over it. I am.
What’s it about?
A husband and wife are about to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary but — surprise! — they hate each other’s guts. Or do they? Are they getting divorced? Are they just bored? NO ONE KNOWS!
First of all, I’d like to start this by saying that I watched this play while wearing two pairs of pants. It’s not relevant to anything I’m going to say, I just thought you should know. Second, I knew this was a play with dialogue by August Strindberg. But that didn’t stop me from secretly hoping that it was going to be a really cool morbid death ballet thing. It wasn’t. It was better. And maybe that’s because Strindberg’s humor is just that good and timeless, or maybe it’s because I’m broken on the inside. But this play about a married couple who may or may not hate each other, have attempted murder, slept with relatives and engaged in occasional threesomes was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a very long time.
Now don’t get me wrong — this is NOT a happy play. I laughed and laughed and decided to never ever get married as a result of it. I don’t know if the intention of the play was for me to step out onto 13th Street and think, right now I would rather be wrapped in barbed wire and rolled down a hill in San Francisco than get married, but that’s sure as hell what happened. Maybe that’s not what Strindberg wanted, but I’m sure he also wouldn’t have wanted one of the actors to knock over a prop and then NOT PICK IT UP! FOR THE REST OF THE SHOW! IT JUST LAID THERE!!!
I’m over it. I am.
The main thing that stood out to me with this show was how perfectly suited the humor was to the scenario. It was dark, irreverent and REALLY weird at times, but it never seemed out of place. It would have been easy for it to seem forced or alien to the script. But it was so simple and bleak that the show would not have been complete without it. Without the humor, I probably would have stepped outside and thought, I’d like to be wrapped in barbed wire and rolled down a hill in San Francisco, and just left it at that.
One of the best things about the humor in this production is that it’s done in the round, meaning that the stage is in the middle of the theatre while the audience is seated around it. Given this setup, I felt very lucky that my experience was enhanced by a very expressive and easily shocked woman sitting across from me. Now I know not everyone can be so lucky, but watching her face when (SPOILER!) a character grabbed his cousin in the throes of passion and said something akin to, “I’d like to kiss your neck and then rip your throat out, cover your mouth with mine and then suffocate you with my teeth,” was a truly affirming experience. I’m not sure at all what it was affirming, but it definitely affirmed something.
I really loved this show and fully intend to cite it when turning down marriage proposals. I highly recommend it, and I hope you have an expressive lady sitting across from you, too.
Tell us about your experience.
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