Author: Leigh Buchanan Bienen
Publisher: Women in Theater Journal Online
Issue: July 25, 2018
Description: Originally premiering in 2015 at London’s Royal Court Theater, hang is a play which makes you laugh, or gasp, again, at human frailty, at human foolishness, and at the social and political arrangements and institutions which make us despair, like the weather in April in Chicago. hang asks the audience to confront how people end up in a circumstance, a bad circumstance.
hang has three unnamed characters (simply One, Two and Three) and a set consisting of a small lit room with a door, a water cooler, and some chairs and a table. The only casting restriction is that the character Three be a black woman. Characters One and Two are not restricted by age or race, and Two may be male or female.
The lines will reverberate differently if the actors are seen differently by the audience. The place, the city, the country, the type of theatre and audience will also resonate. The audience, and, of course, the actors are very much involved in creating the circumstances the characters inhabit.
The award-winning author is British, black, and reclusive. Previous plays (born bad, nut, truth and reconciliation, and others ) have been produced at the Royal National Theatre, the Young Vic, Soho Theatre, the Royal Court and elsewhere. She has also written for television and radio, and recently wrote and directed a film. America will come to know her work.
The script looks like poetry on the page, and has the intensity and economy of poetry. Like poetry, the play relies upon the spaces between the lines, and the silences to establish its meaning, and power. What is unsaid (or unread) is as important as the opposite. The play is a dream for a small, intensely-focused quartet of actors and director…