The World of the Play
The world of Carson Kreitzer’s “Lasso of Truth” is comprised of several distinct spaces in place and time, each with its own action and characters. The main spaces are: a. the workshop and home of the INVENTOR, WIFE and later AMAZON, which spans from the 1930s onward, b. a comic book store in the 90s, then restaurant, then apartment in which GIRL tries to purchase the first Wonder Woman comic from GUY, c. an ‘office’ environment in which GLORIA and FRIEND discuss Wonder Woman as it relates to modern feminism and the sexual kink of its author and d. ‘darkness’ in which some version of most of these characters are able to meet at several points in the play.
Within each of these spaces (‘darkness’ excepted) independently, time seems to progress forward over the course of the play, but because scenes from each space are interwoven, there are jumps between time periods and physical locations from the audience’s perspective. Scene changes between time periods often seem to constitute ‘flashbacks’ as events discussed in the later (in terms of the date, not the play’s timeline) spaces are then shown happening in the 1930s scene.
The scenes take place mostly in interior spaces – with one exterior balcony and the unknown and mysterious space of ‘darkness.’
Thunderclaps score a few scene changes.
The mood seems light and fun throughout. Stage directions indicate that many of these scenes are to be announced (and often interspersed) with title cards reminiscent of old comic book tropes (speech bubbles, announcements, etc.). These provide a humorously simplistic understanding of the more nuanced action on stage (e.g. ‘ANOTHER PLEASANT EVENING AT HOME’ before a scene in which the AMAZON, WIFE and INVENTOR discuss her unborn child).
The Social World of the Play
This is a world in which public scrutiny can invade (and seriously disrupt) private life. At the start of the play, INVENTOR is beginning a job at a new University, having lost several previous jobs from administrative scrutiny into his sex life. Later, AMAZON, WIFE and INVENTOR must invent a backstory for AMAZON’s pregnancy and ongoing presence in their home. In the later (time-wise) scenes, much of the dialog is a direct examination into the relationship between INVENTOR, WIFE and AMAZON – an attempt to understand INVENTOR’s ‘true’ intentions as relates to the character of Wonder Woman.
This is also a world – not unlike our own – in which men often fail women. They fail to understand, fail to trust and ultimately are unable to communicate. By seeking to understand the truth, they must come to accept that their binary concept of truth is failed in itself.
Monologue and dialogue and free verse are all interwoven throughout the play. Several of the characters speak long monologues seemingly directed at the audience, and in at least one instance, this monologue is interspersed with snippets of dialogue from different characters, giving context to the monologue. Sections in free verse are spoken in the ‘darkness’, between characters from different places and times, and are extremely intimate and emotional. In contrast, the monologues tend to comprise characters’ opinions and thoughts. The dialogue provides a place for thought, emotion and opinion to mingle.
Throughout the play, the characters are seeking truth but have no clear sense of what truth would look like. The MACHINE and the INVENTOR (in the beginning of the play) believe truth comprises absolutes, but as the same story unfolds from three different perspectives, we – and the characters – are unable to tell which ‘objective truth’ is in fact the correct ‘objective truth.’ When faced with this seemingly intractable problem, there is no choice but to accept and dive into the world of ambiguity and complexity. We must accept that the play provides no clear answers, but adds complexity and dimension to a set of interesting questions.
For me, this play is a gentle reminder of the many ways in which my understanding of the world and my relationships is subjective and incomplete. These are thoughts which are easy to hold in my head (be aware of from an intellectual level), but far more difficult to put into practice daily. It reminds me that the work of maintaining this understanding must happen together with friends and family and that it never ends. And that a thorough search for ‘truth’ does not end with an answer, but with a new avenue of exploration.
Lasso of Truth is a play about finding truth through others.
Lasso of Truth is about relaxing our grip on what we think we know to better understand what we do not know.
Lasso of Truth is a play in which several sets of characters speak their truth and are faced with an equal but inconsistent truth in someone else. They must learn to modify their understanding of truth to embrace complexity and ambiguity. Ultimately, they realize that this effort is how we find meaningful and intimate connections.