(Charles Isherwood’s article appeared in The New York Times, 1/8.)
The Susan Sontag of the skunk-striped hair and the illustrious reputation as a public figure looks back on another Susan Sontag, a precocious but insecure young woman hungering for experience, in “Sontag: Reborn,” a touching, exquisitely rendered portrait of the artist (and thinker) in the process of self-creation at the Public Theater as part of the Under the Radar festival.
A production of the Builders Association, the show has been adapted from the first volume of Sontag’s journals (covering the years 1947 to 1963) by Moe Angelos, and directed with a delicate touch by Marianne Weems. Ms. Angelos, best known as a member of the Five Lesbian Brothers troupe, portrays the title character in her late teens and early 20s onstage, and as the established woman of letters via video projected on a scrim that fronts the simple set, designed by Joshua Higgason. For most of the play Ms. Angelos is seated at a desk piled high with the books — Tolstoy, Gide, Mann — that Sontag devoured throughout her life, the nurturing food that fueled her ambition and fed her soul.