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      MAY I BREAK THIS WALL, S'IL VOUS PLAIT?

      B 4212

       

      The Fourth Wall is a theatrical term for the imaginary “wall” that exists between actors on stage and the audience.  Obviously, no such wall really exists, but to keep up the illusion of theatre, the actors pretend that they cannot hear or see the audience and the audience gets to enjoy the wonderful sensation of being a fly on the wall.  The same effect often occurs in movies, only the fourth wall in that instance is a camera lens. In a book there is a story-teller. Sometimes the story-teller is the author, sometimes a character in the story, sometimes there are multiple tellers.

      So what happens when the story-teller becomes part of the story? And what happens if the people about which the story is told step across or through the fourth wall and begin to tell the story, or to realize that the story-teller is telling their story or the wrong story?

      All this sounds quite mixed-up and I'm such much of the confusion is due to the my poor explanation...or story-telling. Sean Michael Welch has explored these questions and more with his little play “Boise, Idaho.” The narrator of a story chronicles the meeting of a couple in a small cafe in Paris, France, only to start losing control of his characters once they realize he exists. Blending the lines between fiction and truth, this play examines what should triumph: reality, or a good story.

      We had lots of fun preparing this play for the last of our Zoomed Staged Readings this Saturday and Sunday. As with all of these short productions, we put them together with little rehearsal, often on zoom, and then filmed it in the Coolidge Theatre. Natalie Himmelberger and Titus Himmelberger and Nick Duffy jumped right in to the fourth-wall-breaking story that goes wrong—well, how can you break a fourth wall that separates an audience when there isn't an audience? It's a quirky play that we hope to present someday before a live audience, but in the meantime, I hope you can join us this weekend.

      BTW, if the title of this play is “Boise, Idaho” why does it take place in Paris, France? But, ah, is Boise a French word? And isn't Paris a girl's name?

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