Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Great staging, Enchanting
About the Show
In this radical re-imagining of Wallace Shawn's 1978 dark comedy at JACK, two multi-disciplinary artists play the combative titular couple and head up the design team.
Today, Marie decides to leave her husband: "Let me tell you something. I find my husband so God damned irritating that I’m planning to leave him. And that’s a fact." But in 'Marie and Bruce' facts are slippery things. Gordon Landenberger (Bruce) and trans actress Theda Hammel (Marie) double as the set and sound designers, respectively, for this timely new production.
"'Marie and Bruce'...is considerably more perverse than most stories...Marie wants attention...The highly performative display of loathing creates a weird frisson of erotic challenge. The leads’ acting is not traditionally polished, but the scene has a punk energy...Then the tone abruptly changes...The other guests are played by a quintet of alt-comedians, but oddly their exchanges have little zip and are flatly staged...This may be one of the most depressing visions of coupledom ever put to stage."
“An unsettling study in the language of intimacy...The gap between Marie and Bruce is heightened, or at least altered, by the fact that Hammel is trans, creating a world where a cis guy just keeps ignoring everything a trans woman says...Hammel and Landenberger devour their roles, and their design concepts add elegance and gloom...A grueling experience for artists and audiences alike.”