David Mamet says in his writings that all theatre you will ever see can be narrowed down into one of two types. There is one type of play which you go see, and you cry and you laugh and you give a standing ovation. You walk to your car and say to your date “Oh my God! That was phenomenal! My perception on life has been changed! Never will I see things the same again! Let’s go get coffee.” And by the time your latte is ready, you can’t actually recall a thing that happened, or any of the plot, or any of the characters’ names. The second type of play there is might upset you, you might find it repulsive, you might be confused by it, you might ardently disagree with it, you might find its themes illuminating or timely, or you might be entirely unaffected by it. But ten, fifteen, twenty years down the road, you still vividly and lucidly remember it. Certain sounds, images, or feelings are still potent in you.
I remember when I was about five years old, my parents took me to see a play. I don’t remember much of what it was about, except that it was about animals and they were on a sort of island. There was a part at night where one of the dogs was chased down by a pack of wolves; the wolves circled around the dog, slowly closed in around him, and started to devour him.
It was hard to see what was happening to him through all of the wolves and the crowded, dog-pile action. But all at once, all of the wolves tore him apart with a large splash of blood, all of the actors pulling large, bold, crimson ribbons from the dog. It was horrifying. Five year old me was traumatized. And I loved it.
More than anything, what I want to do with Rope is disturb. I want you to be upset when you leave the theatre. Brandon may be charming and funny at times, but don’t be fooled. Don’t be fooled. You will be surprised and taken aback. I pray that Brandon’s twisted, sociopathic and perverted views on life will unsettlingly stick with you for many years to come.