August Strindberg‘s play “Miss Julie”, written in 1888, is a story of the walls that exist between people. The walls between the young and wealthy Julie and her father’s valet Jean are palpable. Unlike so many upstairs downstairs stories, this story makes no attempt to break down these walls. Misogyny, racism, and classism are fiercely clung to. There's no sympathy, only lethal attempts to dominate. The actions and words between the two main characters, taking place in a single night, illustrate that these wall may appear to move but they can never come down.
The performance at On the Boards, JULIA by Christiane Jatahy this weekend is a thought provoking, well considered, contemporary work. It tackles class, race, sex and all the isms you can think of between them all. It is done masterfully using the mediums of live theater, film and breaking the fourth wall. It is a journey through emotions and belief systems of each individual audience member.
Bart Ramsey, my date with a stranger for Rabih Mroué's Riding on a Cloud, made a New Year's resolution to more deeply engage with the arts. In the past, he's “been to a few operas and seen the Nutcracker,” but recently, he's been wanting to explore and support more non-mainstream work. “I don't have to live in my insular little bubble,” he tells me. “I've got a lot of anxiety, but I'm ok with being challenged.”
Riding on a cloud, written and directed by Lebanese artist Rabih Mroué and performed by his brother Yasser, is the life story of Yasser performed by himself. This show was my first experience being at On the Boards in Seattle. As I walked in on the stage, next to the big cinematic screen was a wooden table and a chair with a lot of CDs and Cassettes on it, I found a seat on the very last row of the huge theatre. I enjoyed every second of this piece, from the beginning.
...I had such a good time watching and thinking about Rabih Mroué's Riding on a Cloud at On the Boards last night. Since the show's only going to run today and tomorrow, I wanted to strongly encourage you to see it while you still can.
You have two hands and two legs what are you complaining about? Your head is on your shoulders, she said. Yeah, but, no, what are you complaining about, she stepped on someone’s brain when she was leaving the shelter, she stepped on someone’s spilled brain on the street, when she was thirteen and going out and almost fell, we don’t talk about the war, ok, change the subject, but, there is no “but”, she is alive and that’s good, and she is ok now, isn’t she?