Aisle View: Silence in the Woods

April 10, 2015 2:17 PM

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There are those who measure the strength of a dramatic performance by observing not only how the actor delivers lines, but how they listen. What do you get from the performer when they are not talking? Playwright Bess Wohl has seen fit to write a play in which the six onstage characters hardly speak at all. They are participating in a five-day, spiritual retreat where silence rules; the words mostly come from a sometimes distracted offstage moderator (Jojo Gonzalez) with a foreign, or affected, accent.

Thus, just about everything we come to know about these six strangers--and Wohl constructs compelling stories for each of them--is learned solely from watching them listen and react. This might sound like something of a stunt, and for the first several minutes it does seem like a stunt. But the pers...

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