September 15th-24th 2011
Boston Center for The Arts- Plaza Black Box Theatre
A play by Albert Camus
Directed by Vahdat Yeganeh
Art Direction by Elizabeth Jacobs
Stage Manager: Harry Timmons
Staring: Lorna Nogueira- Jared Wright- Hannah Cranton- Julie Dapper- Bob Anthony
Boston Experimental Theatre Company is proud of working on Albert Camus’ rarely performed play, The Misunderstanding. The value of life and unpredictability of death is explored, asking the audience, as well as cast and crew, what happiness is and how it can be secured. BETC will not look for any answers to questions that will arise, but will be creating an environment allowing the spectators to engage in the performance as if they are sharing a dream of what these unveiled inquiries mean to them. Albert Camus is raising profound questions in this psychological and philosophical play. What does it mean to assert oneself as an individual in relation to various facets of the ego driven personality? What is the capacity of an individual’s internal relationship with love, life and freedom, and what role does happiness play when one is faced with the notion of death?
~Vahdat Yeganeh/artistic director
“What happens when someone with conscience – late developed – and a sense of duty – also delayed in developing, falls into the clutches of someone who has deliberately killed conscience in pursuit of a goal? What if his fate rests with her partner, who has for a long time, been indifferent to conscience though not its stirrings? What happens to the innocent bystander who loves and braves danger for the man with the sense of duty? Is it possible for grief to turn peoples’ hearts to stones? Can a mother’s love for a lost child be lost with that child so that the one remaining starves for it? Why do people develop monomania and what use is conscience in the end? What is the nature of conscience? Of love? Freedom? Oh, Albert Camus, you raise these questions and more in ‘The Misunderstanding’ and now for the next few months BETC gets to work on the puzzle. Thanks, Camus!”
“A taste for truth is a passion which spares nothing.”
The Absurd Man must live in the precarious spot between constantly confronting his limitations and acknowledging his desire to be unfettered from the shackles of humanity. It is the performance of the acrobat, or the unrequited lover, a straining of every muscle to balance that which must-be for our satiety with that logic to which we must bow our heads– we are tiny specks in the timeline of a Universe that is indifferent and relatively eternal. One who continues on in the face of such adversity, a tragic-hero, is truly Absurd. I, as an honest man see this, and can’t deny my desire to have that swirling mass of dust, ice and debris somehow look back at me and say, “I know you”.
For Jan (My character in the show), The Misunderstanding stems from that source of acknowledgement. He, as a wealthy prodigal son estranged from his family for decades, returns to his home after learning of his father’s death, but does not declare himself as such during his return. After living happily with his wife he feels a duty to his mother and sister, but his desire is to have his family recognize him, acknowledge him as their Son. Often his wife encourages him to declare himself, to say, “It is I”. Jan refuses because he needs something else. He needs the swirling mass of the Universe, manifest in his mother, to validate him. Jan’s sister treats him with a particularly keen indifference, and his mother does not recognize him.
In the tragic world of the play, Jan never understands that he must announce himself. It is natural that one would want recognition, but when the world is silent, the hero declares. There-in is how our tragedy is shared with Jan’s. Validation will not come from anything in the Universe except ourselves. Do we declare ourselves? Face the insouciant cosmos and make it ours? “It is I” is the simple mantra that empowers the Absurd Man to forge a path that is honest and blessed (if by none other than one’s-self), but will or would that be enough? Camus pushes his characters to respond to those questions and lets their fates’ give some answer.
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