A brilliant Ivy League writing professor.
A talented yet mysterious student.
A troubling favor.
Everyone has a story—the question is how it ends. Tony® and Emmy® Award winner Mary-Louise Parker returns to Broadway in this thrilling show that’s a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Backed by Lincoln Center Theater and Williamstown Theatre Festival, THE SOUND INSIDE is written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp (Red Light Winter), directed by Tony Award winner David Cromer (The Band’s Visit), and features Will Hochman in his Broadway debut. Don’t miss this riveting and enthralling new American play where “the audience is stunned into silence” (The New York Times).
By Jesse Green
July 3, 2018
It’s pretty easy to stun an audience into the kind of silence about which people say, “You could hear a pin drop.” Just a well-timed slap will do it.
But there’s a deeper kind of attention in the theater: the kind that comes from withholding the blow. When an audience is focused on what might be coming instead of what already came, you can hear a pin not drop.
That’s the silence — a beautiful hush of dread and wonder — that envelops “The Sound Inside,” ADAM RAPP’s astonishing new play, under the masterly direction of DAVID CROMER. For its entire 90 minutes you are dying to know what will happen even while hoping to forestall the knowledge.
So is Bella Baird, the 53-year-old fiction writer and Yale professor who narrates much of the play. As the action starts she has received a terrible diagnosis with little chance of survival.
And yet the progress of her disease is just one aspect of the play’s interconnected levels of suspense. Bella is played by MARY-LOUISE PARKER in a sensationally controlled performance.
Into this Möbius strip of a narrative another gradually intrudes, this one about Christopher Dunn, one of Bella’s creative writing students. Christopher lacks a social skin, but Bella is at first unable to tell whether he is hostile, troubled or just overstuffed with language that must push its way out in vivid torrents. He calls baristas “New Age, unshowered, tatted-out Hobbits.”
In any case, Christopher (WILL HOCHMAN) is also writing a work of fiction that teases the question of autobiography. In it, a Yale freshman from Vermont spends Thanksgiving break in New York City, where something awful ensues. Has this happened to Christopher himself? Will it?
“You have yourself a nice amount of dread simmering,” Bella tells him.
That dread only builds as the two tales start to converge. During office hours — and then over dinner and drinks and more — the two writers start to write each other into their lives.
Mr. Rapp — a Pulitzer Prize finalist draws on a literary tradition that creates narrative only to nibble away at its authority. One of the things that makes “The Sound Inside” so thrilling is its full engagement with tragedy. The narrative pyrotechnics do not replace real fire.
This is territory in which Ms. Parker has a great deal of experience. By now we know how relentlessly she hounds after the truth of even the most complicated and surreal situations.
That she achieves all this with perfect clarity and no self-pity, and with her sometimes kooky affectations modulated into an aptly self-deprecating charm, is a mark of Ms. Parker’s maturity and the production’s.
Much of the credit goes to Mr. Cromer. He keeps very far ahead of the audience, switching so seamlessly between modes of presentation — scenes are sometimes described, sometimes acted out, sometimes both at once — that you don’t have time to ask too many questions.
A play like “The Sound Inside,” abjuring sentimentality in its very bones, could never be this affecting without touching on something big. Perhaps it’s what Christopher, in describing “Crime and Punishment,” calls the great novel’s intention to inspire “moral fascination.”
We don’t much expect that in the theater today, which is so often about sympathy, horror or gift-wrapped lessons. In making no judgments and offering no explanations, “The Sound Inside” forces you to. No wonder the audience is stunned into silence.
Excerpted from The New York Times.
254 W 54th Street
New York, NY 10019
beginning August 19.
For group tickets of 10+, please call 866.302.0995 or CLICK HERE.
Eligible American Express® Card Members can access American Express Seatingand American Express Preferred Seating. Terms Apply.
The show is 90 minutes with no intermission.
You can get tickets online here. You can also call Telecharge at 212-239-6200 to purchase tickets over the phone or visit the theatre box office at Studio 54 (254 W 54th Street, New York, NY 10019) beginning August 19.
The performance schedule for THE SOUND INSIDE varies, so please consult the full calendar here.
Broadway and Off Broadway: Prelude to A Kiss, Proof, How I Learned To Drive, Heisenberg, The Snow Geese, The Sound Inside, Reckless, Hedda Gabler, Four Dogs And A Bone and more. Television: Angels in America, The West Wing, Weeds, When We Rise, Mr. Mercedes, Billions, Sugartime, The Robber Bride, Saint Maybe, A Place for Annie and more. Film: Red Sparrow, Red and Red 2, Behaving Badly, The Portrait of A Lady, Golden Exits, The Client, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Assassination of Jesse James, Boys on the Side, Red Dragon, The Five Senses, R.I.P.D, Howl, Solitary Man, Romance & Cigarettes, and more. Recipient of the Tony Award, the Emmy, two Golden Globes, the Satellite Award, two Obies and two Lucille Lortel Awards, as well as the Drama Desk, Outer Critics and Drama League Awards, the Clarence Derwent and Theater World Awards, and more. Mary-Louise was an on-staff contributor to Esquire magazine for over a decade and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, O, the Oprah Magazine, Bullett, Bust, The Riveter, In Style, Hemispheres, and others. Her first book, “Dear Mr. You,” was published in November 2015 and translated into five languages. Her humanitarian efforts have been recognized by the Los Angeles Country Commission, GLAAD, and OUT Magazine, and her work on behalf of the LGBTQ community has been recognized by the Hetrick Martin Institute and the NY LGBTQ Center.
Broadway debut. Theatre: Sweat (Mark Taper Forum), The Sound Inside (Williamstown Theatre Festival, original cast), Dead Poets Society (Classic Stage Company, original cast). Film: Let Him Go (Focus Features), Critical Thinking (directed by John Leguizamo), Paterno (HBO), Love (short film). TV: The Code (CBS). Will was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. @willhochman