3 VILLAGER AWARDS
THE TIMES London
"...the power of BALLOON is its density. ...magnificence...poignancy... (like) being overwhelmed (by) a giant jigsaw puzzle, then relishing its finished design."
[BALLOON is] "absolutely first-rate...serious, intelligent, challenging, a play that's humane in its concerns, vividly theatrical, and gracefully written with one sharp epigram after another. ...full-blooded drama, layered with meaning. ...a play about the shapes of lives and the fates of nations."
WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY NYC
"..intriguing...arresting ideas... BALLOON is full of an engaging playfulness, an admirable seriousness."
VILLAGER (Greenwich Village, NYC)
"(Sunde) converts our text book history into flesh and blood passions... People achieving greatly, now and then crippled by arrogance and intolerance, suffering mightily, dazzled by possibilities, devastated by disappointments yet continuing and surviving are what she dramatizes."
"The extremely high quality...is apparent throughout - it bubbles with crisp language, depth, and humor. Your "actor's ear" serves you so truthfully and consistently. So rich... And thus so rare. Coming to the BALLOON for the third time just now leaves me in awe... Truly.
CONTEMPORARY DRAMATISTS London
from "SUNDE" entry
"With a voice both poetic and theatrical, she dramatizes historical epochs in epic scope, making hers a distinctive, even unique, contemporary American drama, more akin to European than to other American plays. She tackles topics of war and politics to produce usually presentational, often explosive theatre... No matter how sweeping the setting and cast, she chooses personal canvases upon which to paint her funny, thrilling, searing, moving scenes.
... The huge canvas and varied vistas of THE RUNNING OF THE DEER [LIBERTY] and the more personal dialectic of BALLOON (as Ben Franklin, in a theatrical framework worthy of Jean Genet, spars with his Tory son and his French mistress) probe the stuff of which our heroes - and by extension we ourselves - are made. In inquiring about our past, Sunde remarks upon our future. That she does so with a sure histrionic sense is a guarantee that her work will endure in the American theatre after our more commercial fare has proven ephemeral."
Ten thousand Parisians have stayed three days and nights in the streets, waiting to witness the start of a new age of flight. If you were to walk in unseen on these friends they would all be speaking out of turn – the magnificent widow, the brilliant “philosophes” who somewhat scandalously live with her, the giant Turgot, ousted finance minister to Louis XVI. If you stay through the first drink you’d know how France adores Franklin like a rock star – for his discoveries, his writings, his not-yet country fighting for a dream that will sweep away their world – Liberty.
They love him dearly and understand him intimately, but there is one story Franklin cannot share. It is that story, of the man and his son, that unfolds now, among friends who tried to share lives, loves and ambitions, bending all to serve their nation, and in the lap of the woman he will give everything not to leave – Madame Helvetius.