Monday, May 12, 2008

stretch (a fantasia)

Photo/Jim Baldassare

Fuck it, I'll say it: it's no stretch when I say that Stretch (a fantasia) is unmissable, no stretch for me to say that Gypsy isn't the the only show with a Rose to watch this season. The Rose in question here is Rose Mary Woods, the ultra-loyal secretary (of 23 years) to Richard Nixon who may have intentionally deleted incriminating Watergate evidence. Her portrayer is Kristin Griffith, who grounds the three different manifestations of Rose: the bundle of hard-fought opinions who smiles, beams and struts through the spotlight of her memory as she says "Go fuck yourself"; the tragically diminished modern version, vivacity bound to a wheelchair in a nursing home; and the dream version who speaks to the clickety-clack rhythm of an IBM Selectric (not to mention two violins, a bass, and a trumpet). And while yes, there are some fantastic elements (and I mean that both ways), between Susan Bernfield's writing and Emma Griffin's seamless direction, the show is utterly believable -- almost too believable, as it takes us back to the shady 2004 election, following not just Rose, but The Orderly (Brian Gerard Murray), an apathetic member of Generation Y who yearns to actually dream of something other than SpongeBob's sexuality, and Bob (Evan Thompson), a former history teacher who latches onto the actual history -- the actual life -- that Rose represents to him. The result isn't a fantasia: it's pure magic.

[Read on]


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