Part of the BEAT Festival and a Brooklyn Book Festival bookend, Shuffle was one of the best shows I've seen this year, giving voice, just a taste, to the silent cacophony swelling within the stacks, the overlap of different narrators and clashing dialogues usually contained by closed covers. It was literature unbound, brought from the page not to the stage but to the living space all around you. The show runs 30 minutes, and the actors repeated it four times, switching roles: some would rapidly read a succession of phrases (Mike Iveson brilliantly tore through the aisles as he did this, poking at spines as though reading the titles of books), others all the phrases in the three books that begin with "I am" or "he is." Sure, it felt like acting exercises and didn't always work. But other times it yielded unexpectedly beautiful and comic results—or at least flattery. Wandering the room with a glass of wine in my hand, I found the terrific Ben Williams in a corner, performing for just one woman. "I'm damned fond of him," he said, looking me in the eyes. It took me a moment to remember that's Gatsby. I think?
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