“Once 10 people know a poem by heart, there’s nothing the KGB, the CIA or the Gestapo can do about it. It will survive.” That’s writer George Steiner, in a statement that serves as an inspiration for this empowering show. In it, playwright and actor Tiago Rodrigues teaches 10 audience members a poem. All the while, he shares stories of writers, their books and characters—all connected to himself and his grandmother, a woman who in the process of going blind wanted to retain as much of the written word as she could commit to memory. These books rest on stage in wooden crates: works by Boris Pasternak, Ray Bradbury, Joseph Brodsky and others.
Words: they can be crossed out, drowned out, suppressed in countless ways, but once they exist inside of us they are inviolable. Rodrigues gives us a show about the power of art, not just to inform and inspire, but also to elude. The act of sharing the written word has taken on a subversive edge during much of human history, and this show exists in the shadow of government oppression past and present. Words can move freely beyond those constraints—if only we remember them.
… so deep, so intelligent and so magnificent that we come out of it profoundly moved… Rodrigues is a poet, a seer, and artist that drives us, without any safety net, through the slippery paths of memory and poetry, of the meaning of literature and death, of theatre.