"I want, before you die, for you to feel at rest, to feel you’ve accomplished enough. To look around at this earth and say: It was good."
Not only is storytelling a genuine art form, it's a lot harder than one might think. It requires skill with vocabulary, phrasing and a deep appreciation of the musicality of one's language. It requires a sense of drama, of make believe and, above all else, a deeply personal kind of buy-in from one's audience.
Dear Elizabeth's subtitle is "a play in letters from Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell and back again." It's clear from this phrasing that the epistolary play is about more than a series of letters between two poets.
Does dissatisfaction lead to introspection? Does introspection lead to dissatisfaction? Neither one of these issues is guaranteed to trigger the other.
Romance is all well and good as a source of artistic fodder. But the love of a father or mother for their children is presumed to be unconditional. What happens when a parent receives a stunning challenge regarding their child or delivers a startling ultimatum to their offspring? Complications quickly ensue.
Grant me patience, Lord, but hurry. I recited these words like a mantra on our recent snow day, the second school cancellation in a week. Blindsided by the blizzard, everyone trapped at home again, I steeled myself for the hours ahead.
"Every three days, we will do an ultrasound to make sure there is still fetal movement," they said. "We cannot promise that in the intervening days the fetuses will not expire." (I believe at this point they changed their language from "babies" to "fetuses.")
Calling it The Vibrator Play teases you into thinking it's only about sex toys. It's not. Calling it In The Next Room better describes the story's more serious plot line.