Sunday, January 28, 2007

The HEIDI CHRONICLES @ Profile Theater

In less accomplished hands, I'd hate this play--since for me Wasserstein's characters are ALL strawmen, including Heidi--but I thoroughly enjoyed Profile Theater's current production. The cast is first rate. Michael Mendelson is a study in moment-to-moment work; even his monologues are rooted in his scene partner. Lori Ferraro weds sketch-review comic chops to beautifully honed objectives and tactics (she is never without purpose.) Eleanor O'Brien economically conveys the sense of walking steadily across the emotional terrain of the decades as if they were a pitching deck at sea across which the cargo keeps dangerously shifting--I loved watching her face register each new peril or moment of acceptance. Jason Maniccia is an asshole, making no attempt to preserve any actor's vanity--court any need to be liked--behind Scoop's jackassness. Kelly Marchant completely dons and then sheds each of her character's physicality and persona before moving on to another, so that I found myself wondering, "which one is really her, or closest to her?" Joe Bolenbaugh settles into character in a more satisfying way than I've seen him do before, successfully doing less "acting," and so drawing me in more. And Brooke Lynne Fletcher makes compelling shifts between her characters, moving from vulnerable to the utter opposite--I particularly liked her Becky, who grounded the 'rap session,' for me.

An enjoyable, if not 'deep,' evening out.

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