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Stu (Assaf Solomon) and Abby (Tali Sharon) are so at odds that they resort to a sort of Cosmo quiz to determine their relationship, but that idea also falls apart. Anthony Neilson’s Stitching juxtaposes past and present, reality and fantasy, but as the play progresses, timelines become confused as well. Did the two meet before they got together as a couple, when student Abby sold her body to help pay bills, or after, when Abby turns to prostitution in reaction to their baby who died. Or did she abort it? Was there a baby, or is that also a fantasy?
What’s certain is that the confusion, the pain, the near-total inability to communicate are expressed via an explosion of physical and verbal violence, in the graphic depiction of pornographic beastliness, in the frenzy with which they destroy whatever intimacy they may have had. This is “in-yer-face” theater, measured by the number of times the playwright shocks, the more often and the more extreme the better.
Theater doesn’t grow in a vacuum, and perhaps this kind of theater is a response to what is perceived as a kind of general indifference. Something needs to matter.
It’s all rather pathetic, but Neilson not only does it very well, but amid all the f**k this and f**k thats, there is a real understanding of the heart.
Solomon and Sharon tackle their roles with brio, but their essential “good-kidness” never lets us quite believe their escalating desperation. The set of black boxes, humanized by a single vase of flowers, works.
Inescapably, however, there’s the feeling that director Esterkin prettied things up just a tad. After all, Stitching
as it unravels does need an audience.