Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem at the Music Box

A week or two ago I saw the production of Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem at the Music Box Theater. Apparently it has been getting mixed reviews, but everything I’d read or heard about it raved (I was reading the Times, the New Yorker, and listening to my roommate).

And I thought it was awesome; an intelligent, funny play featuring a riveting performance by Mark Rylance, who spirals around the stage and keeps everyone (the other characters and the audience) rapt, even when he is speaking from downstage. It didn’t play on glib meta textual quips or easy political targets; it earned all its points by being a well crafted play and group performance.

From what I understand, a few reviews have suggested that it is difficult for an American audience to appreciate a state-of-the-nation play about England, but that shouldn’t be an impediment to going to see and appreciating good theater. And if you don’t know about the William Blake poem from which the play takes its name, reading wikipedia’s entry on the poem is easy enough.

In sum, plays like this are the reason many people live in New York. If you live in or around the city and have any interest in theater, you really don’t have much of an excuse not to see Jerusalem.

You can get tickets through the theater’s website or rush (either the morning or the evening rush). I had no problem getting in, and there were some seats ahead of us so some people were able to move up.

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