If you have a choice to unveil who you really are, would you? Is a life of denying worth living for?
Adapted from Nathaniel Hawthrone’s The Scarlet Letter, the nationally acclaimed playwright Naomi Iizuka rewrites the 19th century classic and finishes Intiman Theatre’s 2010 season.If you have a choice to unveil who you really are, would you? Is a life of denying worth living for?
Adapted from Nathaniel Hawthrone’s The Scarlet Letter, the nationally acclaimed playwright Naomi Iizuka rewrites the 19th century classic and finishes Intiman Theatre’s 2010 season.
Set in the authoritarian Puritan society in early 1600 where the religious sect was known for its intolerance of dissenting ideas and lifestyles, Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth struggle against to comply with the socially determined identities. Hester has committed the sin of extra marital affairs and is forced to wear a scarlet “A” publicly for humiliation. The scarlet letter marks as a symbol of shame to condemn Hester’s adulterous ways. Because of her strong desire to determine her own identity rather than to allow others to determine it for her, she refigures the scarlet letter as a symbol of her own experiences and character, and courageously, she integrates her sin into her life.
Naomi Iizuka created the character of adult Pearl, Hester’s daughter, as the narrator for the play and to resolve her mother’s experience with her own. Through Pearl, the story intertwines back and forth in the space-time continuum and the characters reveal their secrets piece by piece. And as Pearl begins to realize where her bitterness comes from, we as audience might see ourselves in the play as well. People keep making choices but some choose to own it with pride while others hide under a mask in silence. It is about what we want to do with our inner self and outer shell.
The play is well presented and clean, featuring 7 actors (some in multiple roles) & a musician (a violinist) with minimal stage elements. Though it’s rather straightforward, the timely message continues to speak to us eloquently and thought-provoking. The play portrays the human soul under extreme pressures and calls us to see ourselves face-to-face with its open ended question: why is it so fearful? “What is most compelling to me about telling this story now is that we still live in a world in which some people feel they must hide their own authentic selves, rather than face our rigid moral coding and a society that brands them with guilt and sin,” says Artistic Director Kate Whoriskey.
The Scarlet Letter runs at Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer Street at Seattle Center, through December 5. Tickets are available from www.intiman.org or 206.269.1900 at $10-65. Details on post-play conversations and community events can be found on Intiman’s website.
Do you have your scarlet letter? Are you dared to wear it?