About ‘The Misunderstanding’

The Misunderstanding is more than your typical farce. Yes, absurd things happen, and yes, many of the occurrences in the play might be absurd to the point of being laughable. But the truly absurd face of The Misunderstanding shows itself in its characters and interactions that one is almost imperceptibly forced to regard as ‘normal’.

In The Misunderstanding, we see Camus grappling with his post-Myth of Sisyphus conception of the absurd as the real foundation of a life not reflected upon. While some characters’ actions are absurd in a comical sense, the blind acceptance of absurd actions by the more ‘real’ characters should give more pause to the reflective viewer. Which actions and characters are truly absurd? And what relations do they bear to us, those who are inevitably drawn in? In regarding this play, one is tempted to focus upon the obvious but forced to address the subtle. They are the subtle actions and interactions that become the most real and, in a truly Camusian turn, the most dire.

In the end, one must truly ask oneself questions about the value of life, the value of death, and the role that a simple human being plays in their coming to fruition. And all of this is painted upon a canvas that disarms the viewer to the true absurdity of events by drawing attention to the superficially absurd. Be cautious in approaching this play; it will suggest to a viewer that which is comical while convincing the viewer of that which is dangerous.

~ Peter August



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