A Beast/A Burden

glass half productions · Ages 18+ · United States of America

world premiere
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June 11, 2018 certified reviewer
tagged as: brilliant · art · smart · 70s

What I liked

True craftsmanship on all levels: terrific writing, clean/nuanced directing, smooth and authentic performances, great comedic timing, rad 70s costumes, scintillating recreations of the art pieces…

What I didn't like

It didn’t pass the Bechdel test. Just sayin’.

My overall impression

Exquisite. Beautifully written, spectacular performances. Any fear I had of a stodgy, humorless, self-important Sunday morning theater experience was quickly dispelled by the opening sequence. As Ben Hethcoat—flawlessly natural as Chris Burden—dove his head into a bucket of water to “breathe water, which I believe to be a thicker, more nutritious form of oxygen.”, I was incredulous. Was this guy a total idiot? And was he actually going to “breathe”, or just fake it and hold his breath? And wait, was I a snob for assuming something was true just because I knew it to be true? Who did I think I was? And also how the hell was his head still underwater? It’s been a REALLY long time! What if this actor died right here in front of us? And if not, he still has to perform a 90-minute play after waterboarding himself… It turned out all these questions were the exact point of the play, which unfolded with precise poise, wit, and a punch to the gut.

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