One of the early conversation plays, He Said It. Monologue (1915) immediately poses a problem for readers. While the subtitle implies that it should be voiced by one person, the play consists almost entirely of exchanges between first- and second-persons: it’s clearly written as a dialogue.
In our interpretation of Stein’s play, two women’s voices, Speaker and Hearer, recall and recreate a man’s monologue. The piano offers a musical rendering of this monologue, with the pianist, who is also the Narrator, occasionally commenting on and eventually getting more involved in the process of recreation. The voices are accompanied by lower, quieter subvocalizations that qualify, contradict, or otherwise reinflect what has been said. The play’s genre is distressed comedy.
The recording is 20 minutes.listen read the play
Read Dave Chokroun’s program notes on the music.
Watch an excerpt from the semi-staged theater production at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, June 4-5, 2016. Video: Tim Matheson.
Read Adam Frank’s paper “Hollow Utterance” presented January 6, 2018 at the annual MLA conference.
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