Reflection on Spark in Boston (#1)
Atomic Age Theatre and Emerson College, Boston, MA
October 30, 2012
Directed by Noelle Vinas
by Jeff Freeman
Spark is a play dealing with the strange truths of homecoming. The placelessness, the confrontation of failings, the newly reopened rifts, the salvation of acceptance.
But Spark isn’t content to remain merely a family drama. No, this is a play which tackles the broader societal truths of military life. As we move into Thanksgiving I am struck by the ways in which we covet ritual in this country. Thanksgiving is a moment so engrained in us that even the simple trappings of store decorations ignite physical sensations of comfort and warmth. And yet the return of the solider from abroad has no such ritual. Instead it is confronted as a non-event.
Something of incredible significance is happening to warfare in this country. As displays of aggression abroad becomes less and less palatable at home, conflicts are becoming sublimated within domestic policy. Our war in the Middle East carries on unending and untenable, and yet there is no outcry because the event has no voice.
Who are these Americans returning from abroad? How do we aid and understand these individuals whose experiences are so radically different from our own, yet intimately tied to how we live our lives?
Spark does not offer answers but rather demands questions. As the last few moments of the play draw to a close the audience is left only with a feeling that it is not within the protagonist alone to bring about her own salvation. Rather, the problem is one that needs to be addressed by a group. Perhaps as large as the country, or as small as the audience. As always with a Svich play, something needs to be done.
Jeff Freeman is a senior BA Theater Studies Major at Emerson College with a minor in Post-Colonial Studies. He is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Boston based non-profit, Atomic Age Theater. He has overseen fourteen productions and looks forward to more. A proud Minnesota resident, he has worked with the Jungle Theater, Four Humors Theater, and Penumbra Theater Company in the Twin Cities. He is currently directing Emerson Shakespeare Society’s production of Faust.