Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thoughts on “America: A Dream”

Reminded me a lot of Triple A Plowed Under. Especially the ending.

I’m divided about the titles: it enhances the reading experience, but I’m assuming the play is not meant as a closet drama. If performance were to ignore the titles, it would feel superfluous; if they were projected into the screen, it would feel heavy-handed. (Also: if the play's title is "America: A Dream", what's "Another Day in America"?)

Love the actors coming in through the theater door.

Daniel’s line, “if we wanted that we would’ve just given in to this pre-constructed sense of ‘normality’” (p. 3), strikes me as stated emotion. “Why would we want to be like the people we hate?” conveys the same idea, but more dramatically. Likewise, “were they right in making us feel like we didn’t deserve to be treated like human beings?” (p. 7) could be expressed in a less literal way.

Lily’s and Warren’s monologues could be tightened, except for the end of Warren’s (after “speculation”), which I’d like to see expanded. The blame and the hidden truth “for your own safety” are where the greatest statements about the American tradition of school shootings are.

When Lily says, “if we had just taken the time to listen,” it feels to me as if Joseph and Daniel reached their objective too easily. It would be more dramatic if, despite the tragedy, people still didn’t get it (as I don’t think they have, actually).

Why saying only on the last scene that Daniel is the boy from the bathroom floor picture? The audience will realize that in his first appearance, won’t they?

The bloody victims standing next to the video (p. 8) are the dramatic peak of the play – by far its most powerful moment. I think that tension does not come through as clearly elsewhere because of the monologues. I don't agree with Burkard on the video bits. It's not the video that has to speak lower, it's the actions that have to speak louder.

My overall impression is that this would be great to watch: fast-paced, dynamic and fresh. Bold form for bold content. My compliments, Chibby. You’ve got balls.

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