Oh goodness golly gosh. I mean … woah. Oy. As much as I talk about my love of attending art exhibitions and such, I quite like the performing arts as well, although I tend to be a bit pickier with plays and such. So when my sister had extra tickets to a play called Blackbird, I was like, Sure, I’ll go. Based on the description it’s not a play I would have chosen, but it did sound interesting. And it has Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams in it too.
So my friend S and I trekked over to the Belasco Theatre, which is really quite lovely, and sat staring at this lovely office set for a while. And then the play started … and it continued … and it ended. And by the end of it I think the whole audience was stunned into awkward, uncomfortable silence. You know how people tend to linger a bit after a play? There was no lingering here, it felt like people were just pouring out of the theatre – like they couldn’t get out of there fast enough. My friend and I were like: Where’s the nearest bar?
I don’t feel equipped enough to give a thorough review of Blackbird, but while I thought the premise of the play was strong (a woman confronting the man who sexually abused her as a child, but who she loved), the twists and turns and the characters’ personalities were just jarring. And I hate to say this, but Michelle Williams annoyed me. From her awkward shifting accent to her weird, hysterical mannerisms, I couldn’t tell if it was part of her character or just bad acting. Anyhow, it was distracting. There was a monologue by her character about halfway through when she really hit her stride and I got into the play, but then the last five minutes just yanked me out of it again.
Oy. It really was a twisty one. With a single set consisting of an office breakroom and just the two* characters, it was a fairly minimalist play based solely on the two’s dialogue and some hyperactive (are these people drunk?) actions. How the story of their past emerged from their different perspectives was quite intriguing. But I still wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Definitely not a happy play, not a date play, not a “take your mother” play. Afterwards, I just wanted to curl up into a ball and watch Disney movies.