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Friday, February 10, 2017

In Context: Escaped Alone



Playwright Caryl Churchill returns to BAM for the first time in 15 years with this by-turns hilarious and unsettling daydream directed by frequent collaborator James Macdonald. Context is everything, so get closer to the production through our series of curated links, videos, and articles. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #EscapedAlone.


Program Notes

Escaped Alone (PDF)

Read

Article
Caryl Churchill—Beyond Boundaries (BAM blog)
Illustrator Nathan Gelgud explores Churchill's expansive career and body of work.

Review
Escaped Alone review – small talk and everyday terror from Caryl Churchill (The Guardian)
A review of last year’s original Royal Court production, highlighting the bravura performances by actors Linda Bassett, Deborah Findlay, Kika Markham, and June Watson.

Article
While Churchill never grants interviews, director James Macdonald does, even if, as he puts it, “I don't have anything I need to express about myself. My job is to enable other people to express themselves.”

Article
Guardian writer Andrew Dickson pens this 2015 piece that focuses on Churchill’s work, her life as a political dissident, and her consistently revelatory blending of the two.

Article
Theatricality and Empowerment in the Plays of Caryl Churchill (PDF)
A 1989 academic paper by Amelia Howe Kritzer on Churchill’s uniquely feminist-socialist theatricality.

Now your turn...

What did you think? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #EscapedAlone.

15 comments:

  1. Churchill's 'Cloud 9' and Mad Forest are two of my all-time favorite plays. The only redeeming aspect, however, of 'Escaped' was that it was mercifully short.

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  2. If I were a playwright, it's the play I would want to have written -- I felt euphoric after watching Escaped.

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  3. This appeared to be all that the raves say. The set is set back and the sound didn't carry all that well to the balcony. The laughter was for the most part in the orchestra. The charming accents also got in the way of processing the flow of the piece. But we were able to follow the gist, understand the horror described, and got some laughs.

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  4. Get a seat in the first 8 rows -- otherwise, it's very hard to hear the nuances and humor. Mostly, only the people in the front of the theater laughed. And we were in row M (row 13) of the Orchestra.

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  5. We loved it! Thank you BAM for presenting one of the best things we've ever seen. It was so surreally good, and we came away better for having experienced the drama and excitement contained within this play. Something very touching about these ladies and how they, we, all live with the threat of an "Apocalypse." Hate to be political but one can't help but think of you know who. Keep it up. We will be back for more such as this.

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  6. I'm sorry I didn't buy a copy of the play and read it first as the accents made it difficult to follow. I am a big fan of Churchill's plays, having seen many but this one was not to my liking. I did like the staging; the four women.

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  7. We were lucky (apparently); we were sitting in the front. They actually SLOWED the cadence of the Brit-speak, finishing each others' sentences. And the written piece may be a matter of taste. We loved it. Given the surreal content, I found it closer to Beckett than Pinter. But best in that may be the multiple levels - ordinary ("what's for tea?") speech, deep personal confessions and confrontations (as if they were in that same ordinary world), and the Apocalyptic descriptions that seem to haunt us all now. For me, it reflected the whole of our thought. Thanks Caryl!

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  8. I went to see Escaped Alone yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. I love all the actors and was not disappointed. Accents difficult to understand? Well, admittedly I am British but they were perfectly normal accents so I don't understand any difficulty. We don't all speak like on Downton Abbey if that was what people were expecting. I sat in the 4th row which was amazing so no difficulty with sound. It was a bit expensive for just under an hour but that was clear when I made my booking. I traveled by train from Boston just to see this play and I am very happy that I did.

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  9. I agree with many of the other commenters: the play has to be performed in a much smaller venue. (We sat in the rear of the orchestra.) One of the actors had a small voice, the narrator didn't project well (voice swallowed in her throat), although I liked what I managed to hear. And of course the accents lent an additional burden for an American audience.

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  10. Sat in the last row of the Balcony and I heard every word. I actually found the cadence a bit slow, which made it seem less natural. Sadly, did not enjoy the play at all. Really seemed like it was trying too hard to be something meaningful. Left feeling disappointed.

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  11. Really enjoyed it. Though I too had some difficulty in hearing/understanding the speech. It packs a wallop in very short time. The outward ordinariness of our lives versus the tortured interiors and the possibility of an apocalypse at any moment.

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  12. If you enjoyed "Waiting for Godot" or "Nice Fish" or "Thom Paine (based on nothing)," you'll enjoy this. If not, not.

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  13. Agree with all the posters commenting on how difficult it was to hear. We were first row balcony, which should be pretty prime. Extremely difficult to hear. There is reference in the NY Times review to the "sound design" and the kids and traffic. Why the volume you couldn't be adjusted for the actors is a mystery. Very disappointing, especially given that what little we could decipher made us want to read the play...though we would have enjoyed hearing it as it's supposed to be.

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  14. We loved the play but left rather confused about the red-lit boxed soliloquys about the apocalypse -- couldn't quite figure out what they were supposed to reprsent. Was the character supposed to be nuts? In the backyard that character shouts RAGE, though she otherwise is "well behaved" -- is that a clue?

    Anybody reading this, got any idea what those visions of horror were supposed to be?

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