A Beast/A Burden

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

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BENJAMIN SCHWARTZ certified reviewer June 11, 2018
So far my favorite show at the fringe this year. This is a story that is actually worth a damn to create and present. Not only because of the themes. But because a show like this helps secure an artist like Chris Burden into history. Helps him live on far beyond his life. Ben Hethcoat's portrayal of Burden was just so captivating. There's subtlety and madness surrounding his choices--which never go over the top. This is a very controlled performance. As an artist, I really connected, which manifested audibly---you know like a moment in church where you agree with what the pastor says and that uncontrolled guttural reaction of approval can't help but spew out.--I connected with a ton of the dialogue from Burden's character; especial... full review
LUCY GILLESPIE certified reviewer June 11, 2018
tagged as: brilliant · art · smart · 70s
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,... full review
SARAH CHOI certified reviewer June 15, 2018
I’ve come across the belief in my time as a writer that in order to understand a piece of work that can be considered esoteric—in this case, an artist most famous for a striking light installation, but not necessarily by name or his extended works—that one must first be familiar with it in advance. As someone who can readily admit that “Urban Light” was my only frame of reference walking into this play, I can confirm that this philosophy is both ill-advised and incorrect as “A Beast/A Burden” proves it flat-out wrong: good writing is quite simply, good writing. You don’t need to have school-aged children to relate to “God of Carnage”, you don’t need to be young and black to feel the injustice in “Pass Over”, and you don’t need to know who... full review
RUSSELL EATON certified reviewer June 25, 2018
This is a fascinating biographical play covering several months in the life of artist Chris Burden. The show is a thoughtful piece raising many questions about art and how we interpret it. A strong cast brings a complicated man and his cohorts to life that is provocative and entertaining. One of my favorite plays I have seen this year.... full review
ANONYMOUS certified reviewer June 02, 2018
It was great. I liked it. ... full review
LAUREN REAY certified reviewer June 04, 2018
An original, entertaining and masterfully executed piece of theater that will leave you wanting more!... full review
JUSTIN ROSS certified reviewer June 04, 2018
A truly memorable exploration of a local artist, A BEAST/A BURDEN is alive with the intimacy, abrasiveness, and vulnerability that put Chris Burden on the map. Trust me, don’t miss this one. ... full review
GAYLAND HETHCOAT certified reviewer June 05, 2018
Was Chris Burden a self-destructive narcissist or a misunderstood artist of his time? “A Beast/A Burden” ponders this and other probing questions in a riveting production lead by actor Ben Hethcoat as Burden. From the very opening scene, the show thrusts audience members into Burden’s turbulent inner mind and doesn’t let up until the end. Hethcoat and the other cast members, including Jessica DeShaw, Brennan Murray, and Corsica Wilson, offer performances that are raw, visceral, and at times uncomfortable to watch; yet director Billy Ray Brewton makes sure to punctuate the story of Burden’s art and personal relationships with moments of tenderness, humor, and historical reference to a post-Vietnam America. A must-see during this year’s Hollyw... full review
ANONYMOUS certified reviewer June 15, 2018
Chris Burden is a fascinating artist, and this show does a great job of delving into the intention behind his art. Solid performances all around, and a great script and direction from Billy Ray Brewton. Highly recommend it!... full review
JAKE KORNELY certified reviewer June 16, 2018
A compelling behind the scenes glimpse of a performance artist. This made me want to go out and learn more about Chris Burden. I loved how they showed how the close relationships around the artist were affected as his art became more provocative.... full review