“Sontag: Reborn” at the New York Theatre Workshop (Closed June 30, 2013)

June 27, 2013 | Off-Broadway | Tags:
Based on the Books by Susan Sontag and Edited by David Rieff
Adapted and Performed by Moe Angelos
Directed by Marianne Weems
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited

“So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.” – William Shakespeare (Sonnet 18)

Globally, it is an easy time to quit. It is an easy time to quit believing in equality under the law; to quit believing in justice; to quit believing in freedom, equal pay for equal work, or the freedom to vote. It might also be an easy time to quit believing that “everything matters.” In 1946, when she was just sixteen years old, Susan Sontag affirmed, “I intend to do everything. I shall anticipate pleasure everywhere and find it too for it is everywhere! Everything matters!”

The importance of “Sontag: Reborn” currently playing at the New York Theatre Workshop is that this impressive production affirms Sontag’s mantra “everything matters” in every powerful scene. The audience watches a projected image of Susan Sontag watching the young Susan on stage who is reflecting on her early life in real time. Ms. Angelos’ real time performance counterpoints her electronic performance as the older Sontag affirms that her journals were a way of “creating herself.” Ms. Sontag, not unlike Shakespeare, was able to be “reborn” through writing.

Director Marianne Weems and The Builders Association have created a theatrical experience of significant measure. Ms. Angelos’ stage performance combined with Austin Switser’s video design, Dan Dobson’s sound design, Laura Mroczkowski’s lighting design, and Joshua Higgason’s scenic design create an emotionally-laden tribute to Susan Sontag and her legacy as one of America’s – indeed the worlds – preeminent literary icons and activists.