Recommended by Rich Smith
When she was 93 years old, Tiago Rodrigues's grandmother learned she was going blind, and soon. There was nothing she could do about it; she was just getting old. But losing her sight meant losing one of her dearest and most liberating occupations: reading books. She decided she needed to memorize an entire book before the darkness settled in. Now Rodrigues is sharing a story that ties together the lives of fictional characters, revolutionary authors, his own grandmother, and audience members in this enlivening, surprisingly political, and deeply touching performance. Rodrigues sits onstage surrounded by a few crates of books and 10 empty chairs. He invites the audience to fill the seats beside him and says the show won't start until they do. He then begins to teach them the lines to Shakespeare's Sonnet 30, interspersing his lessons with stories about literary critic George Steiner, writer Ray Bradbury, and Russian dissident poet Osip Mandelstam. The intergenerational, international literary-theatrical experience made me awe-cry.