A lot of people ask us where we find the plays we produce. Good question.
One way, is by reading a lot of blogs and online newspapers, browsing reviews, and seeing what gets a lot of good press. Well, in the off-off-Broadway realm that we keep a close eye on, no play in recent memory received as much favorable word of mouth as God’s Ear. In fact, it was just a week over two years since we published “Everybody’s Talkin; About: God’s Ear by Jenny Schwartz” on the Theatreforté blog. Here’s what we were reading then.
The actors aren’t the only ones giving a flawless performance in Jenny Schwartz’s God’s Ear. English itself is taking a bow in this beautifully stylized postmodern tragedy, a poignant, obfuscating look at the language we use when we cannot say what is in our heart, and the blinding power of honesty when at last our heartstrings find the strength to sing.
Theatre Conversation (Matt J)
The language absolutely explodes and the shattered bits form a world entirely unique and beautiful. Imagine Caryl Churchill and Mac Wellman’s lyricism smashing up against each other in a rhythmic configuration which can only be Jenny Schwartz’s.
Superfluities (George Hunka)
… Schwartz’s play finds a precise poetry in a stripped-down repetition of everyday cliche and anxious incompletion, set to an irregular, idiosyncratic rhythm … the slightly-mannered performances are also a keen match for Schwartz’s formally structured dialogue, echoing (if only slightly) the modernist linguistic catches of T.S. Eliot and Gertrude Stein.
The Brooklyn Rail (Heidi Schreck)
It wasn’t only that the play was terrific—there are already several terrific new plays that have been written in this century—it also felt like a play that could not have existed before this moment. God’s Ear is both formally inventive—Schwartz constructs it almost entirely out of found language, bits and pieces of clichés and misremembered idioms—and also psychologically grounded, a narrative arc that unfolds organically and with stunning emotional impact.
Time Out NY (David Cote)
Contentwise, Schwartz’s play has qualities that could make it appealing to subscribers chary of postmodern whimsy. It’s a family tale that deals with universal themes of grief and death similar to the recent Pulitzer winner for drama, David Lindsay-Abaire’s Rabbit Hole. Unlike that play, God’s Ear eschews theatrical and psychological conventions, deflecting the pain of the couple into quirky rhetoric and surreal flourishes, such as cameos by the tooth fairy and a life-size G.I. Joe.
The NY Times (Jason Zinoman)
In one of the most virtuosic monologues of the theater season, Christina Kirk, the rangy grande dame of the downtown stage, encapsulates an entire marriage in a series of declarative statements and hackneyed phrases. The poetic high point of Jenny Schwartz’s “God’s Ear,” a formally inventive and superbly performed drama about how the death of a son shatters a family, this ode to love, loss and the routines of life has the economy and dry wit of a Sondheim love song.
You can also hear Jenny Schwartz (with Zack Colbourn) read from her play courtesy of NYTheatreCast.
We started keeping track of the play immediately, and set to work getting in touch with the playwright and her agent. About a year later, AVLT member Eleni Papaleonardos got a hold of the script and fell in love. We reserved the special season-closing spot for it in 2009, and now it’s time for Columbus to meet Jenny Schwartz and her wonderful creation.