METAPHOR FOR EPIC THEATER
by Harvey Perr
published November 13, 2007
now playing Off Broadway at The Clurman
through December 9
A Country Without a Name is under Siege. Queen Praxis Hires Riddler, the Great Strategist, Whose Strategy it is To Gain Success
through Defeat, To End the War.
Sound vaguely familiar?
It helps us to understand why Epic Theatre Ensemble has chosen Howard Barker’s “A Hard Heart,” written in 1991, to open its 2007
season. And it is, of course, brave, indeed, in an age suspicious of and resistant to metaphor, to produce a play which is nothing if not
metaphoric. But all metaphor and no play makes theater a very dull place because, after all, theater cannot live by metaphor alone, and,
besides, a little metaphor goes a long way.
Okay, the envelope has been pushed. I’ve gone too far. But there is
little to say about this production except that the actors seem to be having a grand old time – regardless of the paralyzing effect it has on
the audience – being in an “important” play. And Norelle Sissons, who continues to be one of our more interesting designers, has contributed a
set that is a fortress and a heap of garbage, which tells us more about the play than anything we discover through the play itself. And Mark
Huang, who created the sound design, certainly has a way of waking us up from time to time. Under the circumstances, this is absolutely
harveyperr @ stageandcinema.com