By Sarah Kinkade
Somerville, MA – In today’s world, audiences expect to walk into a theater and see the traditional story arch; there are clear marks of an introduction, rising action, climax and conclusion. This is not the case with the new ASP production of God’s Ear; every expectation is torn down from beginning to end as it takes audiences through the thought process of life-changing tragedy.
The main word that comes to mind while watching this thought-provoking production is surrealism. Instead of watching a series of events based on reality, the play takes on a dream-like quality as we enter the minds of the main characters: a father and mother, Ted (Gabriel Kuttner) and Mel (Tamara Hickey), who have suddenly lost their son. Through these viewpoints, along with the use of clichés and scraps of ordinary conversation, it becomes evident how meaningless words and everyday actions become when dealing with devastation. The stream-of-consciousness technique and repetition of words creates a poetic dialogue that is both challenging and fascinating to follow, reflecting the difficulties of emotions and the swiftness of time when all seems lost.
Additionally, the prosaic dialogue and inclusion of songs gives the effect that this family is merely putting on a show for others, trying to put on a brave face despite their grieving. Mel, in particular, is simply going through the motions; stating her lines with very little, or with quick bursts of emotion, she appears to be gliding through life while others attempt to interact with her.
One of the prominent features is the creative use of color to emphasize those trapped within and those outside of the tragedy. The members of the family are all clad in white, causing them to blend in with the ghostly white and plastic covered setting, reminding one of the afterlife or a time of fragile innocence. Other individuals stand out in clothes of light blue, forest green and fire-engine red. These bold characters each play a very unique role as they either point out the shallowness of life or represent the haunting qualities of memories.
The artistic story telling this production presents is incredible to watch. Writer Jenny Schwartz and director Thomas Derrah have created a remarkable play that is not to be missed as it captures the extremely difficult concept of the confusing stages the mind goes through during tragedy.
(Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s production of God’s Ear continues through April 12 at the Davis Square Theatre, 255 Elm St, Somerville, Mass. Show times are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. For tickets, visit http://actorshakespeareproject.org)