A viper has bitten me, a bitter viper: The play on words, and the singsong turnabout repetition, instantly channel Gertrude Stein, but are also in key for the Wooster Group and their patented line of mutations of classic modem plays. It has taken the troupe twenty-odd years to get to Stein, but their recombinant cut-ups of a wide variety of texts have always had the music of her language, and also its disorienting density. A viper has bitten me, a bitter viper: Language devouring its tail, the phrase has a skewed mirror symmetry, a paradoxical logic that shouldn’t make sense but does. All this has a Wooster Group history, as does the line’s wit—and also its knowledge that something is wrong.

Wooster productions generally fracture narrative, action, and speech so that the audience scatters its attention over the scene, never knowing quite where to look. The leveling equality of their approach

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