Friday, June 27, 2008

Play of the Week: Conversations After a Burial

In an ill prepared entry, I want to talk about Conversations After a Burial by Yasmina Reza. It is one of my favorite plays because of its unadorned look at grief and how it manifests itself in other ways.

I don't have a copy that I can link to, but if you have the chance, I highly suggest that you find a copy and really spend the time to absorb it.

A father dies. His children and bother his wife arrive at the family house to bury him. The children each hold bitter grudges between each other and toward their father. Everything said, whether loving or hostile, is the reflection of another feeling that they are too angry, hurt, or scared to actually bring up.

As the play progresses, the characters begin to feel a resolution. Whether this is understanding or forgiveness, we are never quite sure as the play doesn't tie everything up in a nice little bow. The characters are on the road to reconciliation, but they all will have to work at it in the future.

Christopher Hampton's translation is a thing of beauty. Its stark simplicity reverberates with realism and emotion. It is a very mature play without being inaccessible.

Happy Birthday: Richard Rodgers (1902-1979)

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