The Sound of a Voice


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David Henry Hwang

Published by Dramatists Play Service

1 Male 1 Female

The scene is an isolated house in the woods where a beautiful young woman lives alone. When a young samurai appears she offers him food and shelter, and when he decides to stay on they eventually become lovers

But while fascinated by his benefactress, the samurai cannot shake a superstitious mistrust of her; for all her delicacy and beauty she is also able to perform wonders of cookery, horticulture and even the martial arts (much to his wounded pride)

In the end it develops that the woman is suspected of being a witch and the samurai has come to seek glory by killing her. This he ultimately cannot, or will not, do, but neither can be accept her superiority, and so he leaves - a fateful decision which, as it turns out, is made at terrible cost to both of them

First presented by New York's famed Public Theatre, on a double bill with The House of Sleeping Beauties, and under the omnibus title of Sound and Beauty

Inspired by Japanese folklore, the play employs a subtly stylized ritualistic approach in telling its tale of a love affair between a samurai and the mysterious woman (perhaps a witch) who gives him shelter

" an earnest, considered experiment furthering an exceptional young writer's process of growth" ~ NY Times

"The Sound of a Voice is a satire of sorts, whose gently mocking tone is concealed by its ritualistic mood and movements" ~ The New Yorker

"With The Sound of a Voice the young playwright comes significantly closer to perfect pitch" ~ NY Magazine

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