You might contend that plays by Wallace Shawn are an acquired taste. He dwells in long conversations, words and thoughts from self-contemplative minds. In the case of the three souls revealed in 1996’s The Designated Mourner the ruminations subtly but gradually reveal some kind of perverted version of our own society. You may have seen the 1997 David Hare-directed film starring Mike Nichols, Miranda Richardson, and David de Keyser. Now it comes to life here via Brigit Saint Brigit Theatre Company, used to taking risks, used to the unusual.
Bear in mind that, at this stage, our lives are not condemned, but rather we are forced to look inside one man’s increasingly guilty assessment of his participation in his society. A culture of secretive public monitoring of private lives. By talking directly to us, his words tell us how we could turn into someone like him, even if our society has not yet reached the horrible dimensions of his. He is Jack. He loves Judy. He secretly resents her father Howard. Each of them will talk to you. Sometimes even talk to each other.
Ben Brantley of the New York Times says that the script makes “the definitive case for Mr. Shawn as one of the most complex and uncompromising moralists of the American theater.”
Witnessing is a form of participation. Once outside in the night, see if what you’ve seen gives you chills.
The Designated Mourner runs May 8 to 24 at The Mastercraft Building, Suite 106, 1111 N. 13th Street. Fri. & Sat: 7:30 pm. Thurs. (14, 21) : 7:30 p.m. Sun. (17, 24): 2:0op.m. Tickets $20-$25. http://www.bsbtheatre.com/