Bereavement wears a black bathrobe in “Grief Is the Thing With Feathers,” the heart-clutching British import from Wayward Productions and Complicite, which opened on Sunday at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. This hooded garment is both refuge and armor for a newly widowed husband — played by the astonishing Cillian Murphy — in Enda Walsh’s adaptation of Max Porter’s 2015 novel.
You probably have a similarly comforting piece of clothing in your closet, something soft and bulky to disappear into on deep gray days. But when your world is abruptly wrenched from its moorings, even your most reliable possessions can go rogue on you.
Thus, early in this 90-minute play, the robe worn by the character identified only as Dad abruptly turns into the magnificent, bedraggled silhouette of an immense crow. And because it is Mr. Murphy in the robe, you have no difficulty believing that this peremptory, squawking, undeniable figure is indeed sorrow made flesh — and feathers.
The book that inspired this play is a densely literary work that defies classification and would seem to defy translation to the stage. The first novel published by Mr. Porter, “Grief Is the Thing With Feathers” is an assemblage of fragmentary pieces — poems, soliloquies and Joycean cascades of words gone wild — that try to measure the unfathomable hole left by a death in a family.
In this case, a mother has died suddenly and unexpectedly. And the alterations in the lives she left behind are summoned by different voices, including those of her two sons (who speak as one in the novel) and her husband.
Then there is Crow, who shows up unbidden at the family’s London flat one night and settles in for a long stay. This creature inevitably brings to mind Edgar Allan Poe’s Raven, who arrived upon a midnight dreary to intone the single word “nevermore.”
But this rara avis is more specifically descended from the poet Ted Hughes’s “Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow” (1970). Dad, you see, is writing a book about these poems. And the myth-steeped, earthy bird conjured by Hughes becomes, in Mr. Porter’s book, a father’s imperious escort through the valley of mourning.
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In the reading, “Grief” sweeps you up in its jumbled rush of emotions that shatter ready-made descriptions. Still, even as it questions the usefulness of words, it is a book in which words — printed words, as artfully arranged on pages — are everything.
Such works are not likely candidates for gripping drama. But Mr. Walsh, who won a Tony in 2012 for his book for the musical “Once,” specializes in what might be called the theater of the elusive.
His “Penelope,” “Ballyturk” and “The Walworth Farce” portray myth wrestling with and subsuming reality. Yet they are also surprisingly accessible, narrative-driven pieces, set in exotic worlds that feel next door to our own.
In adapting and directing “Grief,” Mr. Walsh has anchored the book’s abstractions in a recognizably mundane world. The set designer Jamie Vartan has created a basic starter home of a London apartment, with a kitchen, a desk and bunk beds.
But for all its appurtenances, this flat feels empty, as homes do when a family member has just died. That leaves plenty of room for black thoughts.
With the help of Adam Silverman (lighting), Teho Teardo (music), Helen Atkinson (sound) and Will Duke (projections), such thoughts assume a crowded sensory life. Words appear to be carved, with scraping noises, into the walls, where they multiply, divide and fall in random hailstorms of letters.
Pen and ink drawings of crow-human hybrids (by Mr. Vartan) materialize. Sometimes everything appears to be drowning in black ink.
Then there is Mr. Murphy, who, as he demonstrated as the entire cast of Mr. Walsh’s “Misterman” (at St. Ann’s Warehouse in 2011), can fill a stage to the bursting point. Dad is first discovered in hiding, emerging from a duvet on the floor like a mole forced into the light.
This overwhelmed man is now a single parent to two young boys (the appealingly understated David Evans and Leo Hart, who alternate with Taighen O’Callaghan and Adam Pemberton). And he is utterly lost in his own home.
He speaks about the bewildering throngs of supportive visitors who have descended upon him, as he waits “for any kind of structured feeling to emerge from the organizational fakery of my days.” He muses on how grief feels “fourth-dimensional, abstract, faintly familiar.”
And then the doorbell rings. The hood of Dad’s robe slips over most of his face. His voice becomes an amplified, guttural caw that somehow also embraces the elegant, emphatic diction of a classic ham actor.
This is Crow, a primal force of energy and a font of eloquent reflection. He hops madly, as crows are known to do, and takes over Dad’s desk (which he claims with a nameplate reading CROW). He recites eerie folk tales and oversees an art competition in which the boys must reconstruct their mother.
When the hood slips back, the voice modulates into gentler cadences, and there’s good old Dad again, looking perhaps a little less lost with each reappearance. We don’t doubt, though, that Crow is always there, too.
Mr. Walsh has set “Grief” in 1987, a year when devastating storms clobbered Britain. Some of the period details here seem unnecessarily distracting. I could have done without a video montage of 1980s mother figures from television. Even the home movies and recordings of Mom (portrayed by the wonderful English actress Hattie Morahan) can feel obtrusively literal.
But the muffled sounds of television and radio reports on the storms — and of sirens from the streets — beautifully evoke the way in which the whole world seems apocalyptic after a personal tragedy. And Mr. Murphy (currently of the BBC Two series “Peaky Blinders”) forges such a visceral bond with us that we do feel we hear and see through Dad’s ears and eyes.
Combining the roles of Crow and Dad is an inspired choice, at least with a performer of Mr. Murphy’s intensity and mutability. As embodied by this thrilling actor, Crow and Dad are not merely alter egos. Grief doesn’t allow for such easy symmetry. It creates its own melting rules and landscapes and may make us feel less — or other — than human. Like Mr. Murphy’s Dad, we are, as it were, beside ourselves.B:
香港管家婆四肖期期中【一】【位】【西】【斯】【两】【位】【绝】【地】【在】【将】【军】【室】【内】【打】【得】【难】【解】【难】【分】，【可】【门】【外】【的】【人】【们】【却】【无】【暇】【欣】【赏】【以】【往】【在】【电】【影】【里】【才】【能】【一】【睹】【的】【精】【彩】【场】【面】。 【他】【们】【都】【在】【紧】【紧】【地】【盯】【着】【彼】【此】，【似】【乎】【如】【果】【目】【光】【足】【够】【坚】【毅】【便】【能】【如】【同】【离】【子】【光】【剑】【一】【般】【刺】【透】【敌】【人】【的】【胸】【膛】。 “【我】【叫】【清】【心】，【你】【们】【谁】【是】【队】【长】，【一】【起】【谈】【谈】？”【一】【个】【带】【着】【圆】【框】【眼】【镜】【的】【男】【子】【突】【然】【打】【破】【了】【沉】【默】。 “【可】【以】，【副】【本】
“【哒】【哒】【哒】” 【忙】【了】【一】【天】，【正】【在】【吃】【饭】【的】【萧】【云】【飞】【几】【人】【忽】【然】【听】【到】【了】【敲】【门】【声】。 “【谁】【来】【了】？” 【萧】【云】【飞】【看】【着】【另】【外】【一】【边】【正】【放】【下】【碗】【的】【魏】【上】【坤】，【自】【己】【刚】【来】【这】【里】【应】【该】【没】【有】【什】【么】【熟】【人】【吧】，【是】【有】【其】【他】【官】【员】【来】【串】【门】？【不】【过】【不】【应】【该】【吧】，【自】【己】【与】【他】【们】【又】【不】【熟】。 “【我】【去】【看】【看】” 【魏】【上】【坤】【放】【下】【碗】【筷】【就】【走】【了】【出】【去】。 “【你】【是】【谁】？” 【在】【屋】【内】
【一】【边】【围】【观】【的】【阿】【娣】【和】【雷】【普】【莉】【看】【到】【立】【刻】【嘻】【嘻】【笑】【起】【来】。【陈】【玉】【莲】【眼】【珠】【一】【转】，【气】【哼】【哼】【跑】【过】【去】【和】【她】【们】【打】【闹】【起】【来】。 【边】【强】【笑】【着】【摇】【摇】【头】，【对】【冯】【程】【程】【说】：“【程】【程】，【以】【后】【玉】【莲】【再】【敢】【骚】【扰】【你】【就】【告】【诉】【我】，【我】【会】【惩】【罚】【她】。” “【不】【用】，【我】【没】【事】【的】，【反】【正】……【以】【后】……【不】【过】，【我】【现】【在】【还】【没】【准】【备】【好】。” 【冯】【程】【程】【低】【着】【头】【艰】【难】【的】【磕】【磕】【巴】【巴】【的】【把】【话】【说】【完】，
“【大】【宇】，【可】【还】【好】？” 【师】【丞】【回】【到】【大】【宇】【界】【国】【师】【府】，【入】【目】【第】【一】【眼】，【就】【是】【大】【宇】【天】【道】【那】【张】【哭】【丧】【着】【的】【脸】。 【想】【想】【也】【是】【酸】【楚】，【自】【个】【儿】【的】【身】【体】【成】【了】【公】【租】【房】，【谁】【想】【进】【就】【进】，【招】【呼】【都】【不】【打】，【直】【接】【就】【把】【他】【这】【个】【主】【人】【给】【蒙】【头】【一】【棍】。 【万】【化】【天】【尊】【如】【此】，【诸】【神】【三】【二】【五】【七】【也】【是】【这】【般】【凑】【热】【闹】。 “【还】【好】，【死】【不】【了】，【还】【好】【我】【这】【天】【道】【还】【有】【些】【用】【处】，【死】【不】香港管家婆四肖期期中【崔】【沣】【醒】【来】【时】【发】【现】【自】【己】【已】【经】【躺】【在】【一】【个】【陌】【生】【而】【豪】【华】【的】【地】【方】。 【她】【感】【觉】【自】【己】【身】【体】【无】【比】【轻】【松】，【那】【种】【烈】【火】【灼】【心】【的】【痛】【苦】【消】【失】【的】【无】【影】【无】【踪】。【然】【而】【与】【之】【对】【应】【的】【是】【她】【的】【头】【脑】，【昏】【昏】【沉】【沉】，【有】【些】【不】【知】【今】【夕】【何】【夕】。 “【公】【主】，【您】【醒】【了】？”【这】【时】【一】【道】【端】【庄】【中】【透】【着】【喜】【悦】【的】【声】【音】【传】【来】。 【崔】【沣】【强】【撑】【起】【身】【体】，【一】【双】【手】【及】【时】【地】【扶】【住】【了】【她】，【给】【她】【垫】【了】【个】【靠】
【又】【到】【立】flag【的】【时】【候】【了】，【这】【两】【个】【月】【要】【专】【心】【备】【考】，【两】【个】【月】【后】（12.24），【每】【天】8000+【把】【这】【两】【个】【月】【断】【的】【更】【补】【起】【来】。 【嗯】，【最】【后】【再】【次】【致】【歉】。 ————【薪】【煮】【麦】【芽】【糖】 ————10.21