It was a last minute, spur of the moment decision. But in keeping with my "take advantage of being in this city" pledge, I bought a cheap ticket to The Damned at the Armory. I've been an admirer of the director, Ivo van Hove, since I saw "A View from the Bridge" two and a half years ago.
I'm not going to get into great detail about the plot. Suffice it to say that it is about a German industrial family that implodes during World War II. The production is arguably a movie as much as a play: black-clad camera operators swoop around the stage, broadcasting what they capture on a big screen. There are images from it that I thought would infect my dreams. People are ritually led to coffins that line the left side of the stage, where they are in effect buried alive.
I admire von Hove's ability to distill the essence of a play. It's something I try to do in my own stories. I think, in a way, attending these cultural events prods me to contemplate how I can do that better. It's worth aiming for. Because it is when something is brought to its essence that it breaks through.