There is pain, hurt, lovesickness for miles in every direction, emanating from this club across the country, world, and intergalactic beyond.
Nowadays I’m less interested in causing maybe a huge stir or making something achingly beautiful on the whole. Now it’s more like: take a sizable hunk out of the corner somewhere and maddeningly chew.
What makes this Oklahoma more than just smart is how it ruthlessly strips away the glaze of nostalgia that usually accompanies such restagings in order to uncover what seemingly must have always lurked there, submerged just below the musical’s glossy surface.
Payne keeps his audience from jumping ahead to any particular conclusion by deploying a second (bigger, metatheatrical) frame around Karma’s story, one in which the house lights keep coming up and we are rendered, without a choice, visible – to the actors, to the audience, and (most disturbingly) to ourselves.