Culture shock
Michael Fox Kennedy portrays an unnamed exile in Will Eno’s one-person play, “Title and Deed,” at the Hooker-Dunham Theater.

Culture shock

Two performances of ‘Title and Deed’ at Hooker-Dunham Theater

BRATTLEBORO — “We all have a funny little map in our head that divides the world into home and away.”

The speaker in Will Eno's one-character play Title and Deed is a recent arrival on our shores, disoriented from culture shock and homesickness, and he is struggling to illuminate both sides of that map with a torrent of words: absurd, tragic, stinging, hilarious words.

The original New York production of Title and Deed was on the “10 best plays” lists for 2012 in both The New York Times and The New Yorker.

The Times described it as “a haunting and often fiercely funny meditation on life as a state of permanent exile.” The New Yorker's John Lahr wrote, “Eno's joking seems to me a great act of courage: a way of facing lostness and learning to live with it. His voice is unique; his play is stage poetry of a high order .... In this tale's brilliant telling, it is not the narrator who proves unreliable but life itself.”

Now this unusual theater experience comes to the Hooker-Dunham Theater in Brattleboro for two Saturday performances, Sept. 16 and 23, at 7:30 p.m. The production, first presented in February by the Apron Theater Company at Next Stage in Putney, features Michael Fox Kennedy as the unnamed exile. Christopher Emily Coutant is director.

Kennedy and Coutant have worked together in Vermont community theater for a dozen years. They acted in the Apron Theater productions of Other Desert Cities and The Cripple of Inishmaan and at the Actors Theatre Playhouse in Michael Frayn's Copenhagen. This summer, they both appeared at Next Stage in the Apron production of Brecht's Mother Courage, with Coutant in the title role.

In earlier years, Coutant played a prominent part as director and actor at the Brattleboro Center for the Performing Arts, where she played the role of Emily Dickinson in the one-woman show The Belle of Amherst. Kennedy also has prior experience in a one-character drama: He presented his own play, assembled from the words of Abraham Lincoln, at many venues around New England.

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