THE STORY: In the overwhelming quiet of the woods, six runaways from city life embark on a silent retreat. As these strangers confront internal demons both profound and absurd, their vows of silence collide with the achingly human need to connect. Filled with awkward humor, this strange and compassionate new play asks how we address life’s biggest questions when words fail us.
“A half-dozen troubled souls find that enforced silence doesn’t necessarily bring inner peace in SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS, an enchanting play by Bess Wohl. As funny as it is, uh, quietly moving, Ms. Wohl’s play is also a model of ingenuity…With one exception—the (unseen) guru running this spiritual retreat—the characters hardly ever speak. Both the humor and the pathos spring mostly from wordless interaction, which is testimony to Ms. Wohl’s intrepid writing…” —NY Times. “Disney has already grabbed her, and she’s got history with Paramount, so playwright Bess Wohl isn’t exactly a free agent. But with her theatrical know-how and offbeat imagination, recently on view in AMERICAN HERO…this is a scribe worth fighting over. Her play SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS feels like a holiday outing, a minimalist piece of experimental theater that casts the audience as voyeurs in an entertaining adventure that gradually darkens into tragedy.” —Variety. “Though it employs very little dialogue, there’s nothing quiet about SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS. Bess Wohl’s luminous play uses silence to dig into the core of human pain, which, like everything unendurable, can also be very funny…The play asks—and admirably never quite answers—deep questions about how we connect with other people, a feat that the characters achieve through channels both profound and silly. Wohl isn’t afraid to let the ridiculous rub up against the sublime, and it makes SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS as entertaining as it is transcendent.” —Time Out (New York).