Conventional wisdom says that Deuce exempted itself this season from any awards consideration to avoid the embarrassment of not being nominated. But what of its legendary actresses, Marian Seldes and Angela Lansbury, who have to embarrass themselves on stage eight times a week regardless? Lansbury doesn't know her lines, loses her place, and gets a look on her face that anyone in the audience will recognize as momentary desperation. Seldes, hypervigilant and visibly in compassionate-actor mode, spends a lot of time cleaning up the mess: she narrows her eyes on her co-star as if to telepathically will her to remember her lines. If this isn't sad enough, the play they are struggling to remember is entirely forgettable, a mild piffle about two aged tennis star legends who while away 105 minutes with superficial rememberances of the "things ain't what they used to be" variety. Audience walkouts began at the half hour mark; I counted a total of twelve downstairs by the end. At one point in the play another character, an adoring tennis fan, addresses the audience and tells us to look at these two women, because we'll never see their kind again. The audience responds not to the underwritten, unconvincing characters but to the theatre royalty on stage before us. It's true, we will never see their kind again, but if this crass, squirm-inducing embarrassment is the best we can do in the way of homage, then we probably don't deserve to.
Also blogged by: [David]