(Hilton Als's article appeared in the 11/16 The New Yorker.)

The Theatre

Talk Talk

Richard Foreman puts language onstage.

Uh-oh. Here comes an ominous-looking thought. Three of them, actually, all dressed the same: black suits, white shirts, black shoes. Each of them is called Servant, and they’re among the first people we see in the elegiac and beautiful “Idiot Savant,” by the writer and director Richard Foreman (at the Public). Collectively, the Servants (Joel Israel, Eric Magnus, and Daniel Allen Nelson) remind you of those self-replicating guys in “The Matrix,” but without the sunglasses and the stilted speeches. In fact, the Servants don’t have much to say, but we know that they’re essential to Foreman’s vision of things, because if his dense, hilarious stage work is about anything at all it’s his state of mind, his rapidly blinking consciousness. “All of my plays are about my attempt to stage my particular rhythm of perception, which is to say, admittedly, the plays are about me,” he has written.

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