Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Review of Blackbird at Theatre Exile

First published in the Broad Street Review:

In my late 20s I began a relationship with a precocious and musically gifted woman in her late teens. Within a week of my ending the relationship— essentially, I abandoned her— she attempted to steal my dog, had me evicted from my condo, and tried to run me over with a car.

So I harbor some understanding of the terror that Ray— the male protagonist in David Harrower’s Blackbird— feels when confronted 15 years later by a woman whose testimony had him thrown in prison when their relationship ended. But unlike my case, the age differences in Harrower’s play are more extreme: during the summer of their sexual relationship, Una was 12 and he 40.

Happily, the usual moral recriminations that accompany adult sexual abuse of children don’t form the major focus of this play. Instead, director Joe Canuso’s superb and brutally honest rendering presents the immoral seduction— like Humbert Humbert’s in Lolita, of a weak adult by a child with “suspiciously adult yearnings”— as a way to use the moral issues in order to explore more universal themes of human love and emotion.

To read the rest of this review, click here.

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