Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I first saw this show in NYC, with Jefferson Mays. That was a couple of years ago, so I remember little in the way of telling details (save for Mays' incredible projectile spitting, which I am finding that I, myself, may have a talent for... ugh). But, I do remember being breath-taken by Mays' virtuosity, and by the real pathos of Charlotta that came through.

I was very much looking forward to Wade McCollum's version, since I'm a fan of his actor intelligence, as well as his great craftsmanship and powers of mimicry. But, he didn't work for me--not quite--as Charlotta. He didn't convince me. I didn't fully care about Charlotta. She remained too much a blank. Friends have said they think the problem is in the script, since there is no evolution of character, in it. I'm not sure about that. Even if Charlotta doesn't grow, I find that my view of her does grow increasingly sympathetic through the show as she is revealed to be (possibly) more morally ambiguous than she first appears. I know that I walked out of the NYC production feeling like I'd come closer to understanding the tight-rope that anyone must walk when living in a totalitarian society. I didn't come out with that feeling after this production. This time, I felt more distracted by the gender stuff, which is window dressing, to some degree. I think perhaps McCollum is a few years shy of being mature enough for the part, but I don't know. Michael Mendelson would have been great in the role.

The PCS production is, dare I say, pedestrian.


jason said...

Oh great, Millstone, just what we need: one more Portlander sitting around talking about how much better NEW YORK is. :-)

Apropos of spitting: keep it up, baby. One of the first lessons I learned as a young actor was: if you're spitting, you're doing it right. I hold to that tenet to this day.

paulmonster said...

On "I Am My Own Wife": I saw a preview and felt the same way, though I chalked that up to preview jitters. Textually, I nevertheless still feel that Michael Frayn's "Democracy" did further and better with the same essential questions (divided identity in a divided country, political and moral idealism besmirched with conspicuous ambiguity).

On spitting: Listen to Jason. I've always heard and avowed the same. Not just in acting; you'd be surprised how moved people are when I'm brewing a latte for them and adding a shot of my own special spice, just to articulate things a bit.

David Loftus said...

It's possible that Mr. McCollum spat no more than the rest of us; perhaps we were simply more aware of it because he was alone on stage, so our attention wasn't diverted elsewhere, and often in strong lighting that picked up the spray. I suspect hardly anyone saw spitting in our outdoor summer production of the Scottish play, David, but that doesn't mean it wasn't there.

I haven't heard anything one way or the other about the "proper" amount of stage spitting. It seems to me that in many spaces, you won't be heard by the entire audience if you aren't working hard enough, verbally, to make spitting unavoidable. It was a privilege for me, in my last production, to be spattered in every show by Jonah Weston, during a highly emotional scene between us -- most appropriately while he was delivering the line "So you spit in the well from which you drink!"