Where we belong
Madeline Sayet is a lone narrator who feels surrounded by many in Where we belong—A beautifully written, spoken, and staged 80-minute dramatic premiere tonight at the Public Theater (until November 27). Delicately designed by Hao Bai and directed by Mei Ann Teo, theater producer Mohegan Sayet tells a story about boundaries, borders and boundaries, about cultural evolution and cultural obliteration, The lands we visit and the lands we travel to, change identities and history changes.
This fun, wonder, and touching journey of discovery surrounds her Native Americans identity and cultural history coincided with a physical journey she took to England to study for a Ph. In Shakespeareand this at the time Brexitand what means for a country like Britain – to turn inward, isolate, become poisoned and toxic to newcomers.
For Sayet, Britain and America were also colonies; they did damage to her Native Americans people, no apologies and no care — in the play, she recounts a trip to the British Museum, where a guide speaks with a kind of blithe contempt when it comes to more than just ownership and resources. the origins of the artifacts the museum holds but much more chills the insensitivity and callous ignorance of the human flesh it holds.
The strength and pride that Sayet feels comes from her home ancestors, and their intelligence, ingenuity, courage, and resilience. The stage is designed with small protrusions to represent real land masses, and there are also moments when Sayet wonders to herself how she can overcome a particular personal question. We tracked her through customs checks at airports, where the issue of who she was and where she was going was always clear. She has always loved to travel, even though she was named after a dead bird and she feared death flying as a child, when she first saw it. End destination movie.
Asked directly by a customs officer how she would vote in the Brexit referendum, she said, “Still.” The officer smiled at her. “I am relieved that I have agreed with the right side, the safe side in this particular case. But the safety side is different. Depends on which line you are trying to pass. Today the other word means together, tomorrow it can mean apart. With Brexit and Trump’s election, Sayet said, “The US and the UK have revealed their origins. They don’t believe that all people are created equal, they never were. Borders are getting tougher. more paralysis”.
“There are no words for that, where you go is a physical part of you.“
– Madeline Sayet
Sayet reveals her love for Shakespeare, and also challenges her mother as to why she crossed the ocean to study “a white man”. She tells a rich and engaging story about Mohegan culture and history, about inspirational characters, and about beloved family members. Her job is to make sure it “always gets out. Some where. That it was never really a dead language. That our ancestors still heard it often, and you remember the ground on which you are standing. My mother taught me in the Mohegan language that you can leave your country, but you can’t leave the land you came from other than your feet. There are no words for that, where you go is a physical part of you. “
We feel very interested in that at the end Where we belong. Sayet is proud to travel, she is happy to cross borders: “I am a Shakespearean and I can also teach contemporary vernacular script, and we can discuss what they have to say. together.” Sayet is also not only proud of who she is and where she comes from, but also emphasizes that audiences should understand the presence and respect the culture. She shows a sense of belonging that comes not only from within, but from asserting space in the world, reminding a dominant order of its encroachments, and reminding us all to go. travel and cross boundaries near and far with more knowledge, awareness and understanding.
Catch as Catch Can
Mia Chung’s Catch as Catch Can (Playwrights Horizons, through November 20) It’s also about identities and different types of erasure, with the tangled fortunes of two blue-collar New England families, some nefarious passions and other unspoken emotions also included. It was distinguished by the stellar performance of three actors — Cindy Cheung, Jon Norman Schneider, and Rob Yang — who were actors of color taking on a wide range of roles as white parents and children, transcending race, ages and genders with both fun and sensitivity.
Meet the Italian-American Levecchias of blue-collar New England; Chung plays father Lon, in his late 70s, and daughter Daniela in his late 30s. Yang plays mother Roberta in the late 60s and their son Robbie, aged 40. Schneider lives with both Theresa Phelan, in the late 60s, and her son, Tim, aged 40. Tim is the character. The most traumatized in the play, a young man with major, life-threatening problems and sanity. The double characterization is integral to the play, its impact, and its meaning.
Yang and Schneider, for a more comic effect, play as Theresa and Roberta, joking, laughing, joking, mocking, organizing, with vowels and consonants perfectly integrated in the area that they call home. The play opens with Theresa and Roberta imagining Theresa’s upcoming trip to England, and brooding over the merits of royals past and present: Diana, Kate and Meghan. Before long, as their gossip increased, the problem of racism and common ignorance arose.
With almost two hours of hiatus in a small theatrical space, the play can drag or feel too constrained and confusing. A pause can be helpful and another mode of pacing can also be helpful. The humor of the piece — moms trying to throw a party with the right sauces and drinks and food, buzzing in one way, another with trays and bottles and cups and lots of criticism and salary – is a thematic world far from Tim’s lover issues, and although the actors switch between characters and moods deftly, at times the text can feel confusing or tangled in tone during transitions. The final scene of the play is superbly executed — a lasting emotional punch between two sons on two very different life paths.