4/24/2013 8:20 PM
Toni Morrison ended her novel “Sula” with the phrase “circles and circles of sorrow”, and it is this phrase that I think of when I read “God’s Ear”. Jenny Schwartz works as expertly as a surgeon in this play as she explores what happens to language when her main characters, Ted and Mel, are confronted with the loss of their son. Any good novel follows a plot line and uses full sentences and paragraphs along the path of that plot. However, the fragmented and cyclical language of “God’s Ear” shows what plays do that novels cannot. Human dialogue has no straight line, the mind usually works quicker than the mouth can form words, and this is proven in Schwartz’s writing. The characters of this play stop, repeat, skip over, and silence themselves and others on every page of this play. I would encourage anyone interested in seeing the power of a play to read this one. The language is simple, yet dense, proving that art can be found in any conversation.
4/19/2013 5:11 PM
A husband and wife, Ted and Mel, struggle to cope with the loss of their son, who recently drowned. Jenny Schwartz proves that some grief is impossible to articulate as the couple navigates through empty conversations, cyclical clichés that spin through each other. When our grief is too large to wrap our arms around and too deep and painful to explain, what do we do, where do we go, and most importantly, what do we say?
Schwartz’s play doubles as a visual playground for the reader; entirely in verse, God’s Ear is both a complex web of emptiness as a result of sheer emotional pain and a list of questions and answers, unsatisfying and unhappy. Mel and Ted’s relationship is on the rocks, but they must keep it together for the sake of their other child, Lanie. Within their whimsically numb world, we watch them interact with the poetically realized likes of G.I Joe and the Tooth Fairy.
Language is the only means of communication we have between two people, and yet, as Jenny Schwartz proves, it always lets us down. With the use and overuse of tropes and repetition, God’s Ear is a linguistic masterpiece and a testament to the failure of our own words.