Best Play

God's Ear by Shotgun Players

Absurdist chorus-line numbers and expressionistic movement have become Erika Chong Shuch's stock in trade. Based in San Francisco, she's one of the few choreographers who can traffic in the rawest emotional terms but never waste a single body movement. She proved as much in last year's Sunday Will Come — which swapped metaphors for love and death — and in the fight scenes for Shotgun Players' Three Penny Opera. In May she returned to Shotgun to premiere God's Ear, her new collaboration with New York playwright Jenny Schwartz. Starring Shotgun regulars Beth Wilmurt (as a bereaved wife) and Zehra Berkman (a barroom floozy), it's a weird, tangled, elliptical story about a husband and wife whose marriage unravels after the death of their son. The husband (Ryan O'Donnell) boards a flight to a strange parallel universe; the wife numbs herself by obsessing over banalities. Lisa Clark's ethereal, snowy set contributed to the success of this production, but it was really the rhythmic tautness of movement and dialogue that made God's Ear the best local play of the past year.

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