Monday, September 24, 2018

The True

Is it ungrateful of me to wish that Sharr White's play, The True, presented by The New Group, had more to offer? Perhaps. After all, there is already much to like here: solid writing, smooth direction, and an amazing cast. But for all those strengths, I just didn't care.

John Pankow, Edie Falco
Photo: Monique Carboni

In all fairness, I mostly wasn't bored. I mean, look at this cast: Edie Falco. Michael McKean. John Pankow. Peter Scolari. Each and every one of them is a pleasure to watch, always. Falco, unsurprisingly, gives an excellent performance, and you can't keep your eyes off her as she talks, and talks, and talks, and talks. And curses and curses and curses.

Why is Falco's character such a gabber? Dorothea Noonan, known as Polly, is an essential component of the Democratic machine in 1970s Albany, and has been for years. She thinks she knows everything--she certainly does know a lot--and it takes many, many words for her to tell everyone around her how to live their lives, professionally and otherwise.

Noonan is a close friend and adviser to the mayor (McKean), but at the start of the play he has decided that he needs distance from her. This separation does not stop her from fighting for him behind the scenes, and she meets with the various men who will help decide whether he gets another term as mayor. (One theme of the play is how she is treated differently because she's female, but to me everyone was pretty obnoxious and she fit right in.)

Ironically enough, the most emotionally successful moment in the play is silent. (It would be a spoiler to say more.)

Some of the political machinations of The True are interesting. Some of the relationships look like they would be fruitful to explore. But as it stands, there is little reason to care about these characters, and the play ends up being about ploys rather than people.

Wendy Caster
(press ticket, row E)
Show-Score: 80

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