Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle Reading App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Arthur Miller once said, "The question behind all playwriting is 'How are we to live?'" Carla Seaquist embraces this with a blazing passion that she brings to two inspiring plays, "Who Cares?: The Washington-Sarajevo Talks" and "Kate and Kafka."
"Who Cares?", a two-character play, received its world premiere at Victory Gardens in Chicago with Tony-winner Deanna Dunagan and Tony-nominee Raul Esparza, and had a reading at the New York Theatre Workshop with Tony-winner Jane Alexander and Raul Esparza reprising his role. The play follows a series of phone calls Ms. Seaquist had with Vlado Azinovic who managed Radio Zid, an independent radio station in Sarajevo, during the height of the Balkans War. The resulting conversations became a lifeline for both as each struggled with the horrors of war, helplessness in the face of a holocaust, and the quiet corners in which we seek and eventually find our humanity. The play takes E.M. Forster's famous quote "Only Connect" to its profound immeasurability.
"Kate and Kafka" has received several readings, one of which I witnessed at the Last Frontier Theater Conference in Valdez, Alaska. The play imagines a meeting between Franz Kafka and Katherine Hepburn at a sanatorium in an unnamed country. When I first saw the play, I thought it was a brilliantly clever conceit. Reading it many years later, my reaction hasn't changed. Ms. Seaquist imagines a meeting of Ms. Can-Do and Mr. All-Is-Futile and the shades of grey they create when they mix. As the fireworks intensify, shadows of doubt creep into Hepburn's landscape and seeds of the possible creep into Kafka's. It is a fantastical supposition that's as intriguing as it is funny.
At the root of Ms. Seaquist's work is a cry to battle: against nihilism, apathy, and fatalism. Read it and feel renewed.
Was this review helpful to you?
The pair of plays offered in Two Plays of Life and Death, by Carla Seaquist, speak so clearly to our contemporary quandary: How to remain a compassionate human in the face of daily inhumane acts perpetrated near and far? The first play is now titled "Who Cares? The Washington-Sarajevo Talks". And although I have avoided using the word "gripping" in a review before, I cannot find another word as suitable. Doubtless it is because I empathize so deeply with Rhonda, the American woman `of a certain age' who is forced into the role of observer when true heroics are required. The diabolical siege of Sarajevo required armies to end it, but political realities elsewhere said no. Isn't this the position we all inhabit today as we watch Syria? or Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali, Sudan? I could go on. There are so many evolving horrors in our world. In the guise of Rhonda, Carla Seaquist cares. She sends the only thing she has: Love. Not nightly prayer, but a love that costs. Paid for with commitment, commitment that threatens to drown her in fear. And that is the drama that satisfied and gripped me. Drama without manipulation. A play that dives deeper than sentiments. How else can we come to truly care about people suffering worlds away? The second play, "Kate and Kafka", evokes these two cultural icons very beautifully. Katharine Hepburn meets Franz Kafka in a sanatorium. Seaquist extracts and places their own words in this drama to great effect. Seaquist is wise enough to understand that even the great optimist Kate suffers doubt, and when she crashes in this play, Kafka draws strength from his own suffering. They resist submission to tyranny: "Make Difficulties!" as Kate says. And, finally, I suggest the essays in Seaquist's appendix are useful during those moments when we wallow in our lonely moments of doubt.
Was this review helpful to you?