Cataclysmic Suffering Sprawls Through the Prototype Festival

01.07.19
James Darrah
The New York Times

Opera is an art form of affliction. It’s a genre that has long made a specialty of giving trauma stature and structure.
But even by that standard, the marquee productions of this year’s Prototype, the festival of new music-theater that sprawls throughout the city and runs through Sunday, are extreme. There are scenes in “Prism,” “ThisTree” and especially “4.48 Psychosis” of almost cataclysmic suffering, the kind of pain that lingers without reason or resolution.
“4.48” is an adaptation of the final work by Sarah Kane, the British playwright who died in 1999. A fragmented, incantatory immersion in clinical depression, filled with descriptions of psychotropic drugs, sets of numbers, angry rants and stark wordplay, the script specifies neither characters nor precise plot, nor even the number of performers.
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James Darrah’s staging is striking, with the locked room a frightening terrarium and the club a sea of low-hanging disco balls. But visual elegance can’t take away from the fact that that thumping club scene and the rushed-feeling finale come off as letdowns after Ms. Reid and Ms. Perkins’s spookily suggestive opening. Read the full review here