Critique: in "Polylogues", dispatches of non-monogamy

There is a lot of talk about sex in “Polylogues”, but love is the tender element that runs through these often self-examining monologues....


There is a lot of talk about sex in “Polylogues”, but love is the tender element that runs through these often self-examining monologues. A thoughtful, superimposed program without a smirk on people who build their intimate life outside socially accepted limits, it constitutes a humanizing argument, to live and to let live, in favor of a consensual and ethical non-monogamy.

“Non-monogamy interacting with male privilege, or interacting with capitalism, can, like producing really, like frightening dynamics,” says K, an interviewee regretting having once pushed an open relationship on a small scale. friend, but adorably happy with a new girlfriend and a series of others, overlapping the partners.

Directed by Molly Clifford, Clark performs the show through headphones, listening to recordings of her interviewees as she speaks their words. A note in the script describes her as “more of a medium than an actor, channeling real people into the room.” The show mentions playwright-performer Anna Deavere Smith – the longtime chief magician of interview-based theater – as inspiration, and she clearly is.

Whether you call it acting or channeling, however, a play like “Polylogues” requires the performer to disappear into the characters, slip into them and come out, embody them vocally and physically. But there is a similarity in many of these representations that blur the distinctions of age, race, geography, gender, class – specifics that would help us feel the breadth and depth of the voices that Clark has. gathered.

Without projections of the pseudonyms of the characters – by greer x, on the back wall of The Jean Kim set – we wouldn’t be able to tell them apart, or recognize individuals when they reappear. So the headphones, designed as a tool, come to resemble a gadget: a supposed assurance of veracity. And the show, at about 80 minutes, comes to seem too long.

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