Blackbird is a play written in by Scottish playwright David Harrower. It was inspired in part by the crimes of sex offender Toby Studebaker , and depicts a young woman meeting a middle-aged man fifteen years after being sexually abused by him when she was twelve. David Harrower's Blackbird is not to be confused with the Adam Rapp play of the same name. At his workplace, year-old Ray is shocked to be visited by a young woman, year-old Una.
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You may be interested to know that the author, David Harrower, allowed alterations to be made to the version published, and presumably staged, in the United States.
These referred mainly to specific locations which were removed for the US audience. Sadly, this introduces some ambiguity as the drama unfolds and is not only unnecessary but also, in my opinion, possibly an example of cultural hegemony. We saw the original UK version on the stage and read the amended US version. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions.
Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Blackbird by David Harrower. Blackbird by David Harrower. Fifteen years ago Una and Ray had a relationship. They haven't set eyes on each other since. Now, years later, she's found him again.
Get A Copy. Paperback , 96 pages. Published February 16th by Faber Faber first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Blackbird , please sign up.
Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Blackbird. Oct 28, Beth rated it really liked it Shelves: yuck-yuck-yuck , mixed-feelings , reading-in-english-class , reading-for-school , quick-read , writing-that-gave-me-shivers , something-different , oooh-intriguing , plays , reads. Or perhaps I should rephrase that. I'm no moral guardian - hell, I look at some of the stuff I used to read when I was ish and shudder - but this isn't the sort of books kids should read, if only because I don't think it's safe for kids to read philosophically about whether it's possible for child molesters to love them!
What I mean is that there is something so close to convention in its treatment of its dark subj 3. What I mean is that there is something so close to convention in its treatment of its dark subject, lean, mean writing, and shocking moments poised to cause shock and discomfort that it seems better suited to those who aren't quite as used to the particular style born out by "issue theatre" not inherently a bad thing, and, certainly, Harrower comes up with an addictive and almost irresistible play to chew on.
And, um, this is one of those plays with all the qualities of a Great Play. It's a great great play for student productions thanks to its stripped-down nature - one simple set, two meaty roles one male, one female , pretty short run-time, edgy but provocative material.
It's wonderfully written. But it's so damn sparse. It annoyed me because of how much it feels like the archetypal Edgy British Play from around this time - told in jagged, disjointed sentences that are sort of a paradoxically stylised vernacular. Revolving around one dark, edgy subject statutory rape, the repercussions of.
There are fascinating subjects floating around it, but ultimately the play itself is focused on being "thought-provoking" that it doesn't actually feel like it tells a story. Fascinating elements are only alluded to in part, such as Una's loneliness as a child, Una's relationships with her parents after the 'truth' about her and Ray's relationship emerges, and the general repercussions on Ray's later relationships.
Cliches if, sadly, cliches with truth in them like Una's promiscuity are dwelled upon far more than more interesting and complicated subjects such as her capacity for new 'love' and what would make her describe her sexual relationships in detail to her parents! Sometimes, this is a play that seems almost to be using all its edgy, dark, and twisted - but beautiful - writing, to sadly go for much more obvious and less daring targets than may first appear. Still, it's wonderfully written, twisty and dark and sharp.
Yet it doesn't really feel ambiguous because it's so short and kind of deliberately underdeveloped - so intent on making you , the reader, think that it doesn't really seem to think anything of its own. The characters exist mostly, intentionally, as archetypes for discussion and contemplation, debate that can never have an answer because Harrower has deliberately provided you with only enough to make you wonder, and not enough to make you decide or choose.
Harrower doesn't take a stance on anything. The twists are so damn manipulative that you can pretty much feeling Harrower jabbing at you with the end of his pencil, saying, "Can you handle this yet? For a play about such a dark, horrible subject, it's also a play that can't make up its own mind - or didn't seem to have one in the first place. Harrower's harrowing play is an exciting read, and must make for riveting theatre seen live. I have two minor quibbles: a LOT of the play is the two characters TELLING about events from 15 years after they have happened, and it rings slightly false and off - the audience NEEDS the information they are given through these exchanges, but they still sound expository, rather than naturalistic.
Secondly, I haven't a clue why it's called Blackbird - and if anyone can tell me the significance of the ti Harrower's harrowing play is an exciting read, and must make for riveting theatre seen live. Secondly, I haven't a clue why it's called Blackbird - and if anyone can tell me the significance of the title, I'd appreciate it!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a very disturbing play. The former production was traverse and the latter in the round. To be honest the traverse version, being the first one we saw, was most harrowing. The play asks many questions and allows us, the audience, to provide some of the answers This is a very disturbing play. The play asks many questions and allows us, the audience, to provide some of the answers albeit through much debate.
View all 3 comments. May 01, Frank Hering rated it it was amazing. An amazing script. I can't wait to see this play sometime. I was able to find some clips on YouTube, but not much. A movie version, called Una, is supposed to come out soon. The playwright wrote the screenplay. God, I wish I could see that! Very believable characters, and the conversation they have rings true. Una, now approaching 30, finds and confronts the man who had sex with her when he was in his 40s and she was He went t An amazing script.
He went to prison; she's been through therapy and her hometown's staring. Fifteen years later, they each reveal what they have been through after their relationship? Surprisingly, Blackbird is part tragic love story, and that's where each character's and probably most reader's conflicting responses lie. And several things remain hauntingly ambiguous, and the characters themselves might be most confused about what is true. Aug 15, Miriam Cihodariu rated it liked it Shelves: england , theater , scotland.
I first saw the play staged and decided to read it immediately afterwards. It's pretty heavy. The purpose seems to be nuancing and then a little more nuancing on top of it, to instill more humanity and complexity to taboo characters which usually no one wants to touch.
Still, it goes beyond the simple premise of humanizing and still manages to maintain the non-negotiable 'wrong' status of pedophilia.
I recommend it for anyone who has the stomach for the topic, it's written beautifully. Mar 10, Patrick rated it really liked it Shelves: plays , Disturbing, dramatic, intelligent, and manipulative. The drama pulls to the point that the tension is visible between the text. The action is engrossing enough on the page, but with a pair of brilliant actors, the effect on stage could be explosive.
Nov 17, Amy Robertson rated it liked it. Difficult but worthwhile. View all 4 comments. Feb 01, Realini rated it liked it. Una, written by David Harrower, based on his play Blackbird What a strange work!
My Old Sweetheart
Sitting in a Glasgow bar on a slow weekday lunchtime, he squints doubtfully at me. The author of seven original plays, plus a scattering of adaptations, he is often called the most talented Scottish playwright of his generation. But he is also one of the hardest to pin down. A decade later, he came to broader attention with Blackbird , a jagged depiction of an encounter between a man in his mids and a woman in her late 20s in which it becomes apparent that they had a relationship when she was Although it could barely be clearer that she has been abused, the drama is somehow, queasily, a love story. His plays contain a kind of darkness, one that can be felt rather than seen.
Review: ‘Blackbird’: The Past Returns, Taunting
They make an alarming entrance, these two, setting off instant worry and wonder. They walk as if welded together, though whether in support, restraint or combat is unclear. Her eyes are wild and her bare legs wobbly, and he leads their stuttering steps with an angry, obdurate chin. What follows is definitely fraught, with the sort of acting that triggers seismometers. The satisfaction factor is somewhat lower. When I saw it nine years ago at the Manhattan Theater Club, it left me shaking.
Lights up: the interior of a modern office building, gray in color and atmosphere. A fiftyish man named Ray played by Jeff Daniels, with a distractingly clenched jaw is leading someone by force down a hallway. She is clad, rather incongruously, in heels—no stockings—a patterned summer dress, and a red parka; she wants to be seen and not seen, or, perhaps, she wants her excruciatingly thin physique to be manhandled. Appraisingly pinch and toss their female property about?