The Human Voice (La Voix Humaine) is a poetic statement on the human condition by playwright Jean Cocteau, whose forte was simplicity and complete grasp of matters of the heart. He poetically and passionately reveals the plight of one woman (so delicately performed by Ho-Jung). The play begins with this young woman in obvious torment and anguish, in her own entrapped “hell,” due to a breakup with her lover. The room has no windows, mirrors, only one door, a bed and the telephone — the crucial prop. Cocteau, avant garde for his generation, grappled with language and technologies of modernity and found the telephone the perfect vehicle to communicate human needs. Today, a land line is almost a dinosaur, yet in reality, it’s a priceless lifeline if you equate it with the power of the human voice. The human voice: more powerful than all the iPads, iPhones and digital gizmos and gadgets. In the end, that’s all that anyone needs (besides the human touch, of course): humanity and interpersonal relationships, which often get lost in the equation.
Influenced by existential thinkers Camus (The Stranger), Sartre (No Exit) and even Rod Serling (Twilight Zone‘s constant theme of man vs. technocracy), Cocteau conveys the importance of the human condition. Despite hang-ups and lost calls, the woman desperately holds on for dear life, to hear her lover’s voice one last time — longing to find that needle in a haystack. She is a fragile flower with a simple yearning for love and acceptance amidst the cacophony of rejection and pain.
With a minimal set and subdued lighting, this one woman drama communicates a striking, stark message on stage.
Ho-Jung, in her eloquent monologue, reaches out, in hopes to attain what we all need: unconditional love, respect and inner strength.
The Human Voice (La Voix Humaine) runs through April 24 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. at the Elephant Space Theatre located at 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. For ticket information, call (323) 9607863 or visit www.plays411.com/humanvoice.