Years and years ago, my first time in Edinburgh, I was visiting an older friend of the family and we were discussing the time she and her late husband had spent in England during the time when IRA bombings were regular occurrences.
We were at a restaurant or a museum. We’d already discussed 9/11 – that had taken place just the year before – and we were walking by a parking lot as she elaborated.
“The thing you have to remember,” she said, telling me about the situations she and her husband had encountered, “is that if you were looking at a car park” – and she gestured to the one nearby aspect of the scenery I remember, the car-filled parking lot – “it wasn’t a question of whether there was a bomb under one of the cars. It was a question of which car the bomb was under.
“Because you knew – you knew – that one of the cars had a bomb under it.”
The only question was which car.
During recent visits to the theater, two plays have raised questions about how our society confronts and copes with our basic animal instincts, and the complicity of individuals in destructive acts performed by their societies. They’ve also presented complex existential arguments about the limits of communication and the need to be satisfied by what is, rather than by what one wishes could be. The two plays? Rajiv Joseph’s current Broadway production of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Robin Williams’ Broadway debut) and a production of Wallace Shawn’s Aunt Dan & Lemon from Buffalo, New York theater company Torn Space.
Posted in Activism & Politics, Theatre Reviews
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