The Long Christmas Ride Home by Paula Vogel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Man, Vogel does it again, y’all. This was honestly one of the most beautiful plays I’ve ever read. Maybe this is just my perspective as an outsider (and feel free to check me if I’m wrong), but I loved the intentionality and care with which Vogel synthesized Japanese imagery, color, movement, and sound into the piece. My favorite part of this collage was the dance that brought Stephen back to life.
Most of all, though, I admire Vogel’s craft– how she fused setting, imagery, and story to show us a really bright and simultaneously dark cross-section of this family’s life. I really loved how she played around with narration and dialogue, character and avatar. She essentially built three layers of character– one with the puppets, one with the avatars / puppet masters, and then the last with the actual voices of the characters as they spoke for themselves and to each other. She also seems to transcend time pretty seamlessly without losing story or continuity, which I found really impressive.
Um, basically? I was jealous. Why, Paula Vogel? WHY can’t I have your brain?!
Rock on, READ on,