Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sequestered, Take Two

I saw Sequestered again. What a difference a week makes.

The play centers around a woman who is confined to a room. "Sequestered" indeed. Part of the challenge of the play's first act is showing that she is bored out of her mind - but without making the play itself boring.

Last night the play moved very quickly and crisply.

The first act, which involves lots of well-meaning but life-choking bureacracy, kept me highly amused. The second act, which involves an actual encounter with evil, kept me deeply disturbed!

Anna Weiler, who plays the female lead, struggling for freedom and sanity, was utterly absorbing, with a wonderful air of unpredictability, as she tried to regain control of her life. Giau Truong was cheerfully and charitably oppressive as the assistant to the assistant to the assistant district attorney. Bil Gaines, as a thoughtful and reflective hit man, seemed to have stepped out of the pages of a Dostoyevsky novel. Riley Koren, as an impudent germ-obsessed maid, was fascinating with a wonderful air of being in on a secret. And Jeremy Menekseoglu was astounding as Mr. Banks, hobbling on a crutch, dominating all around him.

The structure of the play is dream-like, and the message is never spelled out, but the message seemed clear to me: All sorts of people want to put you in a box of their own making. They may do it for "your own good." Or for "the good of society". Or "to avoid chaos". Or even just for the sake of enjoying their own twisted love of power. They will tell you that you're not allowed to break out of the box. But, if you accept responsibility for your own destiny, you may be able to step right out.

Step out of the box -
the locks, 
you will find,
are on your own mind.

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