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Volume 24, Number 3 — March 2017

Across a Distance: Reviews

Man talks to birds in a scene from <em>Across a Distance</em>.
Man talks to birds in a scene from Across a Distance.

November 29, 2011

Excerpts from articles in The Capital Times, Madison, WI:

Across A Distance is a classic romantic tale. Two would-be lovers watch each other from afar, intrigued but separate. Through a mix of curiosity, trust and a little magic, they meet. They're infatuated. But when the magic wears off, reality sets in. They can't understand each other. In this case, the divide is literal: she is a singer, and he is deaf.

The folktale-style story involves two people on individual islands. Robert Schleifer, as Man, tells stories to magical birds on his isolated Zen garden, sending pebbles skittering in his excitement. Each tale has a moral: Take risks. Let go. People need companionship....

Julia Faulkner, as Woman, walks on a floor made of paper, her feet surrounded by books of algebra, astronomy and botany. Woman can talk to the trees. She's coldly logical, but frequently bursts into song with a high, honeyed voice.... Faulkner has a breathtaking voice, best showcased on composer Scott Gendel's lovely "Your Voice/Your Hands."

The first untranslated scene is when the characters meet and can, for the first and only time, easily understand one another. "The way Nick has written the scene, all the context clues you need to understand are embedded in the lines of the other character," Bremner said. "It's very organic."

Bremner said she wants people to experience the characters' own confusion — a sensation that might be jarring at first, then pleasant, as they try to understand in a new way. "If you stay with us, you'll start to realize that you're getting something now out of their performances that you were missing when you were relying on the slides."

"Certain kinds of theater ask a lot more of their audiences than others," Lantz added. "I hope people will come away [knowing] that there's an aspect of language...there's an aesthetic quality to it that goes beyond practical communication. There's beauty and value in the sensory experience of language."

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Topics: Music, Theatre