Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Internationalist

Play #40 - The Internationalist: An Elusive Comedy by Anne Washburn

This play is sort of difficult to read, and I don't mean that in the emotional sense that I have mentioned in some of the previous scripts. I just mean that , mechanically, it's difficult to read, because a good portion of the dialogue is in a made up language. The play is about a man named Lowell who has come to an imaginary Eastern European country to work in this office that does some sort of financial or marketing work. Most of the people speak at least a little English, some speak it better than he does, but he is the only one who does not speak the native language of the country, so when they all start taking off in their native tongue he and the audience are completely lost. Not much happens in the course of this play. He has a sort of brief, confusing relationship with Sara, the woman who does the filing at the office. He sort of meets the people he works with, but a bit of a crisis occurs when one of their coworkers disappears at a key moment, so he gets left out of the loop as they scramble. While he is sight-seeing, he comes upon an old woman in the catacombs of an old church who speaks no English, and it almost seems as if she mugs him, or maybe she's just a vision, or maybe they share a supernatural encounter of some kind? The events of the play are a little unclear, but I think that might be some of the point. The world is confusing, the audience will feel out of sorts - strangers in a strange land. That feeling of standing among a bunch of people who all understand each other, and having no way to participate - it's a frustrating but very relatable experience. And I do think it would end up being a sort of funny, sort of melancholy production in performance. But man, it would be damn near impossible to memorize!

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