THEATER REVIEW: “The Sound Inside” @ Williamstown Theatre Festival [Berkshire on Stage]
Review by Roseann Cane
Photograph by Carolyn Brown
“Fruitful introversion is possible only when there is also a relation to the outside.” – C.G. Jung
The world premiere of The Sound Inside at the Williamstown Theatre Festival invites us to witness something not often seen on stage: the portrayal of two profoundly introverted people who struggle to find a way to ask for help.
Playwright Adam Rapp (who is also an author, screenwriter and director with an impressive array of awards for his work) and director David Cromer (who recently won a Tony award for his direction of The Band’s Visit) have accomplished something extraordinary in making theater about two isolated people, a middle-aged Yale professor and a student with a roiling inner life, who come together during a time of personal crisis for both.
We see the story from the point of view of the professor Bella Baird, played by Mary-Louise Parker. From the beginning of her first monologue, one of many addressed to the audience, she had me in her thrall. Her skill at embodying a woman who revels in her solitude is remarkable. While I’ve seen Parker many times in film and on television, this was my first experience seeing her onstage, and though I’ve always enjoyed her work, I really didn’t know what to expect. My admiration increased tenfold. I found her ability to embody this prickly recluse, and to use language and gesture to transmit her feelings about her treasured inner life, quite remarkable.