This weekend the beau and I saw Dai, the latest theatrical/political project from Culture Project (producers of The Exonerated). If The Exonerated was more documentary theater, Dai was more theater with a weighty message. It was enthralling, enraging, and entertaining — and its biggest achievement was that it was balanced, an adjective seldom found lurking around the subject of the Middle East these days. Iris Bahr is the one-woman creative powerhouse behind the whole affair; she wrote it, and plays about 10 different roles in the course of the 80 minutes show.
I’m obsessed with people who find/create modes of expression for multiple talents. But Bahr is off the charts. She is an exceptional storyteller, a political voice, a natural performer, a well-timed comic, and most of all, an astute observer of human character. She has a book coming out any minute (March 6), Dork Whore: My Travels Through Asia as a Twenty-Year-Old-Pseudo-Virgin, which I can’t wait to read. Who says subtitles are useless?
After the show over a late dinner during which we analyzed every nuance of the show, I felt overcome by the urge to write something for the theater. I studied theater as an undergraduate and over the years had the occasional idea that seemed like a potential play.
Inspiration has never turned into a script (yet!), but the urge always returns whenever I see something really smart and moving in the theater. Reading a lot of books certainly helped me to write one. So it looks like I’ll be getting to the theater more.