Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

18 May 2011

Itamar Moses

I guess I never really posted about how much I enjoy Itamar Moses's play Bach at Leipzig, but I read it several years ago and developed quite a love for it. Which means that when I have seen other Itamar Moses plays on sale, I have purchased them.

This morning, since I am reading more plays – going to try to read one every day before work this summer – I finally picked up Moses's play The Four of Us. I didn't really love the play or anything. It's a play about writing, which I always think is not necessarily the most stageworthy of topics. And, well, I tend to think that plays that could just as easily be films probably ought to be films. There is some good stuff in The Four of Us, but it wasn't really my bag.

What I did love was Moses's afterword to the play. It almost moved me to tears, actually. Moses creates a whole kind of meta-afterword, where he writes about having to write a foreword. It's charming and tongue in cheek, but then he ends with the following:

What a writer makes public is at best a truthful but partial and fragmented glimpse of a private conversation that is happening all the time. Sometimes out loud, with friends or lovers. Somewhat more often in silences, with those people or alone. So listen, you. It's clear now that a silence is about to open up between us. I can see the blank bottom of the page from here. And I don't know how long it's going to last because it's not entirely up to me. And you're already reaching for another book and I'm about to start something new. So here's the part I need for you to understand. I want to tell you everything. I want to tell you absolutely everything about absolutely everything and that is why I do this and it never works. All I seem to do is tell you over and over and over again about the wanting. All I ever do is introduce the things I really want to say. Which are unsayable with words. Which are not pure bursts of feeling and of sound, but which want to be, for you.
Travel safe.
By for now.
Itamar Moses

I love it!!


  1. That is a really lovely afterward. Unfortunately, I don't think his plays are near as lovely. To be fair, I've only seen Love/Stories (or But You Will Get Used To It)and Fucked, but while they had some really nice moments/lines, overall, they were not very good. I might even call them trite.

    For whatever reason, he is a playwright I very much want to like, but it just hasn't worked out that way.

  2. Yes! I think this is how I feel, as well. I love Bach at Leipzig, though. It's great.

  3. Ok, he gets one more chance -- I'll read BACH and let you know how it goes :)