Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Edward Albee's Occupant

photo: Carol Rosegg

Who's afraid of Louise Nevelson? I dare wonder if Edward Albee is, since his tribute to the sculptor so gingerly tip-toes around her that she typically comes off as no more fleah and blood than a statue. We watch her interviewed in the afterlife as if for a magazine article: the interviewer once in a rare while offers a weak challenge but the gloves never come off. He's there to say 'what happened next" and "tell us more" while the great lady talks in quotation marks. Despite the deadly dull conceit, the play has the intrinsic interest of one great artist paying homage to another, even if it is an Inside The Actors Studio gloss job. As Nevelson, Mercedes Ruehl gives a fiercely intelligent, technically proficient but somehow wearying performance. She's an actress reaching to play an eccentric, when what is desperately needed is an eccentric actress.

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