Thursday, April 28, 2011
Last night I saw The Family Shakespeare by David Stallings, directed by Antonio Minino. It's about the children of Thomas Bowdler. We never see the parents, but we know them by their offspring. The rakish eldest brother (a wonderful, fearless Eric C. Bailey), the chronically ill and tart-tongued eldest sister (pitch-perfect Corey Tasmania), the emotionally blocked younger brother (a disappointing Jason Emmanuel- there's so much more to that role he has not found) and the youngest daughter, who clings to her childhood as long as she can, because she can grasp no alternative (Henrietta, played by Cotton Wright). The adult children are set off by the servants and their social equals (Sarah Chaney, Alexandra Cohen-Spiegler,Dianna Martin, Peter B. Schmitz and Frankie Seratch).
It is a interesting play that examines parental responsibilities, the role of women, imagination in our lives. Mr. Stallings is a writer with no easy answers, and I always appreciate that. I wish that he'd cut ten minutes out of the second act, but that's my only objection. The play is an ideal vehicle for Ms. Wright's talents. She carries the play on her capable shoulders, and the audience knows it's in for an engaging night of theatre. She is, by turns, luminous, distraught, childlike (never childish), and sensual. I think it's one of the best performances I've ever seen her give.
There's a link above to the nytheatre.com review. Tickets are still available, and it runs until the 30th. It was a Pick of the Week in last week's issue of TONY.
Pictured are: Corey Tasmania, Cotton Wright & Eric C. Bailey. Photo by Jonathan Dozier-Ezell.