Saturday, July 6, 2024

The Hatmaker's Wife

The Hatmaker's Wife

by Lauren Yee

A young woman referred to in the script only as "Voice" is moving in with her boyfriend Gabe. It should be immediate bliss, but the walls hold a story and they begin to share it. Voice hears the tale of the old hatmaker Hetchman and his wife who disappeared - he had refused to make her a perfect hat, instead expecting her to wait on him hand and foot. The story becomes increasingly mystical as he summons a Golem, and Voice gets increasingly wrapped up in the story, complicating her relationship with Gabe. The story twists and turns and intersects in interesting and charming ways, inviting the audience to think about the roles they and their partners may play in their own relationships.

I read this play not long after I read Julia Cho's The Language Archive, and while I wouldn't say that the plays are really all that similar, there was a common spirit that I sensed between the two plays. There is an epic sense of the scope of old relationships in both plays that serves as a mode for the younger characters in the play to encounter and interrogate their newer romances. It also made me think of Sheila Callaghan's Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake), as the walls of the home hold onto the emotional histories that unfolded within them, and become their own strange characters. I really enjoyed the theatricality and mysticism of this play, and I think it would be a lot of fun to explore a world like this!

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