Heady Amusements

Kristine Nielsen and Troy Sostillio in Betty's Summer Vacation: sex, rape, dismemberment, and the vagaries of public taste in the Sadeian Age
Joan Marcus
Kristine Nielsen and Troy Sostillio in Betty's Summer Vacation: sex, rape, dismemberment, and the vagaries of public taste in the Sadeian Age

Details

Betty's Summer Vacation
By Christopher Durang
Playwrights Horizons
416 West 42nd Street
279-4200

Night Must Fall
By Emlyn Williams
Lyceum Theatre
Broadway and 45th Street
239-6200

Macbeth
By William Shakespeare
American Place Theatre
111 West 46th Street
239-6200

We know whodunit in Macbeth, too, James Thurber notwithstanding. But there's always the hope that some director and actor will be able to show us why. Ron Daniels's production, with Bill Camp in the role, racks up points for clarity of image, with its bare, circular stage, and of speech: Within his limits, Camp is a good, dryly ironic deliverer of the verse. But that's as far as their credit goes. Having set up his open stage, Daniels clutters it, in almost every second scene, with unrevealing movement and ineffective effects. Camp, once he's latched onto his despair after Duncan's murder, almost never lets it go or grow; his Macbeth can rise to anger or anxiety, but not deepen, reducing the drama to stasis. Luckily, he, like the evening as a whole, is enlivened by a marvel— Elizabeth Marvel, to be specific. And her specificity, as Lady Macbeth, is the point. Where Camp rarely connects feeling to the role in more than a general way, Marvel, with fewer appearances, has found a sequence of emotions in which to ground each of her scenes. She's chosen them each, too, to be slightly different from what you normally expect: The opening letter scene, for instance, resounds with gloating laughter; this lady can't wait to be queen. Those who've seen Marvel as Cressida or Thérèse Raquin don't need to be told how powerfully she can anchor her words to her feelings. While her performance is what cuts most strongly through the blur of Daniels's production, it's only fair to add that he himself seems to make active efforts to cut through it: There's strong, focused work from Stephen Pelinski (Macduff), Starla Benford (Lady Macduff), and Jonathan Hammond (Ross). But why doesn't Daniels stick with the lucidity his bare stage seems to invite? Why doesn't Macbeth the war hero stay honest? Maybe the destruction of one's best self is just a male thing.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
 
Loading...