Aymes is merely a convenience in this play, a MacGuffin, as Hitchcock would have it. His slim experimental novel, titled Mother and Son, and the film of the same name are merely opportunities to parody pretentious literary and cinematic analyses. Of more interest are the recurring reminders of the fallibility of opinions and the questionable nature of historical precision. Who cares whether Archer Aymes was best classified as a beat or a postmodernist, when those arguing the point are so entertainingly adamant?

In the program director's notes, Ehn observes that the play is "a dream in the medium of words." In what could describe the play itself, he says that the conference within it is "a kind of cognitive demolition derby." Exactly. Talk is violent, mesmerizing to the point of slack-jawed stupor, and every now and then we watch its colliding ideas strike sparks. From that act, even a formless conflagration can provide illumination.

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