The White Album
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” Here’s one: you arrive at a house party. A band is playing, some people are making out. You drink, you mingle, you dance. Lars Jan’s (ABACUS, 2014 Next Wave) multilayered vision of Joan Didion’s essay juxtaposes the author’s searing text—performed in its entirety by Obie Award-winning actor Mia Barron—with a glassed-in microcosm of social unraveling. A chorus of performers are joined onstage by members of a second audience, bearing witness to the harrowing beats of isolation, excess, and looming violence that typified Didion’s late-60s California—from the Manson murders to student protests to the Black Panthers—and finding fresh resonance in a story we tell ourselves over and over again.