I'll be reading closely all the reviewers who bashed Mauritius for not being realistic enough; I want to see what they'll say about A Feminine Ending, the most artificial play I've seen this year. It's artfully written by Sarah Treem, by which I mean there are some nice depictions of feminist theory (by way of the use of gender-specifying nouns) and elegant, loving descriptions of an orchestra. But the play is pure hokum, not even entertaining enough to be diverting: Amanda (Gillian Jacobs) so glibly patters with the audience that scenes seem like interruptions, and the actors all seem like they're performing, particularly Marsha Mason (the mom), who delivers her "I may be getting old but I still have a life" monologue more to the over-50 subscribers than to her partner. Treem talks a decent game, but she's far too off-topic and "feminine" (in that, according to Woolf, she likes to explore rather than get to the point), and director Blair Brown does nothing to reel her in. Amanda's crush (Joe Paulik) plays eccentric like a manic Robin Williams and both her father (Richard Masur) and fiancee (Alec Beard) go through their scenes without a hint of feeling. The only emotion in the show, in fact, takes place off stage, and even that seems completely planned and falls flat. Ms. Jacobs is perky and bright: too bad the play focuses more on her friends and family than on her fears and insecurities.
[Also blogged by: David | Patrick]