Watching the final dress rehearsal of The Pelican and The Black Glove last night before our first preview, I was struck by the contrasting sense of scale between the two pieces. Where The Pelican holds one family under the microscope in a room with only one door, The Black Glove shows us the “Tower of Babel,” representing a macro view of humanity. Danielle O’Hare speaks lines in each of the plays that drive home the scale of each individual character’s experience, multiplied by all the people in the world. As the Young Wife in The Black Glove, she says, “This peculiar house, where the destinies of men are stacked floor upon floor, one upon another, and next to each other, one after another.” And as the Mother in The Pelican: “It seems to go on, passed down, from above, from where? Our first parents the children’s books said. There seems to be something to it … Don’t blame me and I won’t blame my parents who won’t blame theirs and on and on. Besides, it’s the same in all families, though it doesn’t show from the outside …” Danielle plays these moments of revelation beautifully, with a wonderful sense of the scale of human existence, suffering, and joy through time and space.
This realization reminded me of a web graphic by Cary and David Huang, “The Scale of the Universe,” which invites visitors to scroll through the universe from the tiniest elements to the edge of observable space. I think Strindberg would have liked that web graphic; like The Chamber Plays, it packs a lot of big ideas intp a small space.