Disclaimer: This is the first time that I've ever paid money to watch a play. I clearly don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to modern theater culture. Don't listen to me.
Against all odds, I ended up leaving the opening night showing of Knocking Bird feeling more flummoxed than I did after that "Ms. Pakman" thing from last week. This production was dense with all sorts of things that didn't make sense. There was yelling! Mustache-twirling villainy! More yelling! Obtuse metaphors!
Granted, the basic premise was easy enough to follow. After narrowly surviving a car accident, Isa and Mason decide to leave the city behind and lead isolated lives in the woods while Isa's body recovers. Their already strained relationship begins to unravel even further when Billy, Mason's former colleague from a law firm, pays them a visit. Past infidelities are revealed, Mason's mental state deteriorates, and people obsess over birds in a "The Raven"-esque manner.
And then, halfway through the play, Isa eats a bird? Or maybe she becomes a bird? Who knows. She certainly cawed multiple times. The play was advertised as a "psychological thriller," so I expected some sort of madness to take place, but a lot of what happened in Act II felt completely random. At some point, Billy mischievously tip-toed on to the front of the stage and scattered Fritos around while Mason yelled about it.
Speaking of Billy, he is such a wildly over-the-top character. As a framing device, the play frequently cut away to scenes that consisted of him delivering sneering monologues at a bar. These include several boastful asides about how great it is to be an evil lawyer and how wonderful frivolous lawsuits are. This kind of satire reminds me of those political cartoons that may as well consist of an arrow with the word "bad" on it pointing at a politician that the cartoonist dislikes. Oh, and Billy is also supposed to be great at seducing people when he's not being Dick Dastardly. It's no wonder that everyone started yelling at each other in every scene once he showed up.
I will say that the production values for this play were a pleasant surprise. Footage of a forest was sometimes projected against the wall and, along with some ambient sound effects, this created a nice sense of atmosphere. When the the stage lights dimmed for to facilitate scene transitions, some helpful contextual information would pop up on the curtains. An elaborate mockingbird prop that they employed was my favorite part of the show.
Without having seen any other plays, I'll assume that they're all exactly like this one and that I should avoid them.