Saw a really good play today – The Method Gun at the Paramount (it was the last performance there, but it should be performed elsewhere). My interpretation below (don’t read if you are planning on seeing as it may spoil). If you have a chance, this is definitely a play worth seeing. Funny, uncomfortable, afterwards I felt like I was exposed to a rich, stimulating saga, a story not my own, but one I found very interesting.
The play has a bit of an Inception quality to it – has three levels. The first level is "our reality": the actors come out and say effectively "we are going to do a play about actors rehearsing for a play". The second level is "actors rehearsing for a play". And the third level is "the play". My take is that Stella Burden, a director, took a band of outcasts and they studied for 9 years together in preparation for the single performance, in the course of which they become a family, they become a complex social unit. The final sequence, after 9 years of practice, they perform the play and it goes off like clockwork. How could it not, they practiced for 9 years. That last sequence, by the way, is incredible – imagine a stage with four metal rods, pendulums with lights at the ends swinging to and fro and you see the play, as rehearsed before, performed impeccably between the massive swinging lights in a visual rhythm, a march of sorts. Incredible sequence.
Anyway, the entire process, in a way, is being observed by Stella Burden who is manifested as a lion, an artifact left by her before she left after year 6 to Latin America (never to be heard from again). Yet the lion who comes out mid-show with a pleasant Latin American accent espouses her teachings, her school of thought: that one must always be under pressure.
All in all, it feels like a description of how a human family can be created, how it lives and creates itself something… if there was a message beyond this, I didn’t get it. Well… will sleep on it. But definitely glad I went.
I wonder if I would enjoy it more if I read/saw the play that the actors were working on – they were doing a modified version of "A Streetcar Named Desire". I think the last play of this sort that I saw was All Wear Bowlers.
Update: had another thought – perhaps this is really a play about good mentorship. Stella left, and perhaps that was part of their training. After all, she was always present as a tiger, element of danger. And, at the end, they found their own way, they made the play, they delivered. So perhaps she is seen as the ultimate mentor.