Sunday, September 10, 2023

THE SOUND INSIDE at Th Pasadena Playhouse.



 I was so inspired by the revelation in the text of this play that Christopher (Anders Keith) had written his novella with a typewriter that I decided to write this review with an old Smith Corona about the same era as Christopher's machine.  What happens when we write in analog . the sound of the type bars smacking the page and an occasional typo that, if necessary.. takes time and energy to correct.. the look of the page:  I am truly sorry this did not enlarge properly. .with a maginfying glass, it is the first impression and rave for this excellent production. 

Evidently, I did not spell Amy's name properly. edit If I can find the beauty of the in hand program that the Playhouse provides, I can fix that.   (I did. See below)

After her opening salvo .. a five page monologue by Bella, exposing deep feelings and information, we segue to her office at Yale. One of the  early lines that gave me hope when Bella (Amy Brenneman) is confronted by Christopher (Andeers Keith) without an appointment .. appointments are sacrosanct for doing student / professor business at Yale..  erupts in a tirade that I share... 

Christopher is my hero.  "Email is not my style," He mentions penmanship!  Ink.  A pustule of stuff erupts as he single handedly destroys the many electronic ways that communication is removing human beings from one another. It's poetry. Elegant and Keith's delivery is surgical.  

And this is in the first few minutes that we meet Bella and then Christopher.  It's a tone poem of sorts. it's human condition and in spite of all the broken rules. there are many broken rules.. it's talky and deep and human.. as we get to find the way the kid and the fifty something single professor with health issues  are drawn together in a beautiful slow moving arabesque.

Keith is credited with authorship of this version of The Sound Inside.  This kid's delivery, as I may say in the typing above.. is almost On the Spectrum, but precise and direct, though there is an unexplained moment when he spaces out and.. then...  returns.

Rapp is credited with all kinds of writing.  In this play we get the essence of what writing is. Christopher composes on his manual typewriter.  This turns the story a little dark: even a bit creepy.  The intimacy of these two human beings is never overtly intimate in the sense that the love they share is ever consumated, but the depth of the connection is palpable.

The beauty of Cameron Watson's direction is that whatever he did, his hand doesn't show. The scene changes.. and yes.. it'a virtually talking and pauses and moments.. the beauty is that the actors never miss a beat. Their dance is fluid and perfectly paced. Some moments may take the breath away.

They discuss balancing bad acts with goodness in Crime and Punishment. Over my head, for sure.. but it's foreshadowing that makes sense later.  I recall the term 'digital chlymydia' to damn the tech world. That made me smile. 

Literary references to suicide, another foreshadowing emerges.  Christopher mentions his novel..he's writing a novel, he says.. He is typing it on a 'mid century Corona' and because my Corona 4 is early 20th Century, I chose the Smith Corona and that's where that typing up there came from. An homage to analog.

I feel almost taken over by Christopher as I easily breeze through the great fun and completion of this story that Rapp's play delivers. One must see the show to hear Christopher's delivery. His pronunciation is crisp.. too crisp and direct and impatient. Bella beautifully  fields his presence and at the same time is .what? Taken in?  Absorbed.. attracted?  All of the above and as the business of her health and his novella and their relationship evolves.. the dance.. The Dance.. Garth Brooks' song. The Dance comes to mind.., though the correlation is really a minor one...

When I see a play that touches me and I find the message and the work.. the efforts of  all involved. the actors, the direction.. the tech.. (aside from the attractive woman with the silver dredlocks checking her phone from time to time in row M) it inspires my own need to attempt to echo the poetry that has so moved me. The echoes reverberate as Bella repeats the directive.. Listen to the Sound Inside.. Listen to the Sound Inside..

That said. Please go to see The Sound Inside.

The Sound Inside 

by Adam Rapp  & Anders Keith

directed by CameronWatson

The creative team features 
scenic design by Tesshi Nakagawa; 
costume design by Danyele E. Thomas; lighting design by Jared A. Sayeg; 
sound design by Jeff Gardner; 
casting by Ryan Bernard Tymensky,  
stage management by Alyssa Escalante, 
David S. Franklin assistant stage manager.
The Pasadena Playhouse
39 S El Molino Ave, 
Pasadena, CA 91101-5220

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