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Small Mouth Sounds
Photograph: Ben AronsSmall Mouth Sounds

The quietest play of 2015 is coming back to New York this summer

Adam Feldman
Written by
Adam Feldman

Silence can be golden. There is very little spoken dialogue in Bess Wohl’s Small Mouth Sounds, which takes place at a spiritual retreat in the woods, where participants take a vow to remain quiet. In the play’s world premiere at Ars Nova last year, audiences were entranced by the hush, which sharpened their focus on revealing details that might otherwise get lost in conversation. Problem was, not enough people could see it: The theater was very small, and the play was a hot ticket—thanks in part, ironically, to strong word of mouth.

Those who missed Small Mouth Sounds last year will now get another chance. An auspicious trend in recent New York theater finds hit shows coming for encore engagements. Wohl’s play is the latest happy return: It announced today that will play at the Pershing Square Signature Center from July 3 through September 25. The new venue is twice as large as the original space, but director Rachel Chavkin knows how to successfully expand an Ars Nova staging to a bigger venue without losing too much intimacy: She did it with Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which moved Off Broadway in 2012 (and is now set to hit Broadway in September). Of the show’s delightful original cast of seven, all but two actors have been confirmed for the new run.

Why all the excitement about Small Mouth Sounds? “Wohl isn’t afraid to let the ridiculous rub up against the sublime,” noted Time Out’s Jenna Scherer in her review of the original production. “And it makes Small Mouth Sounds as entertaining as it is transcendent.” Go see what all the quiet is about.

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