Marie Clements’s acclaimed play sears a dramatic swath through the reactionary identity politics of race, gender and class, using the penetrating yellow-white light, the false sun of uranium and radium, derived from a coal black rock known as pitchblende, as a metaphor for the invisible, malignant evils everywhere poisoning our relationship to the earth and to each other.
Burning Vision unmasks both the great lies of the imperialist power-elite (telling the miners they are digging for a substance to “cure cancer” while secretly using it to build the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki); and the seemingly small rationalizations and accommodations people of all cultures construct to make their personal circumstances yield the greatest benefit to themselves for the least amount of effort or change on their part. It is also a scathing attack on the “public apology” as yet another mask, as a manipulative device, which always seeks to conceal the maintenance and furtherance of the self-interest of its wearer.
Clements’s powerful visual sets and soundscapes contain curtains of flames which at times assume the bodies of a chorus passing its remote judgment, devoid of both pity and fear, on the action: a merciless indictment of the cross-cultural, buried worm of avarice and self-interest hidden within the terrorism of the push to “go with the times,” to accept the iconography of a reality defined, contextualized and illuminated by others.
Marie Clements writes, or, perhaps more accurately, composes, with an urbane, incisive and sophisticated intellect deeply rooted in the particulars of her place, time and history.
Cast of five women and 12 men.