NEWS – Apres Isabelle…

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Isabelle Huppert is sitting on stage as the audience enters on an impossibly wide white leather sofa, filling the span of the stage like a Tex Avery limo pulling up to the nightclub. Her face is powdered white, not quite mime, not quite noh but ashen, dusty. Her lips are deep red. She’d be vampiric if she didn’t seem so juicy with flesh and blood.

She looks up from the book she’s reading from time to time, bored, shutting her eyes but she also looks at us, locks eyes with audience members in the fully lit room, with an expression of distaste, contempt. She is absolutely beautiful.

Here is the set-up for Mother – An empty nest couple grown apart and antagonistic. He is probably having an affair. They have a son and daughter but it’s the boy who consumes Mother’s thoughts. His absence obsesses her, his neglect, his interest in another woman – it echoes in her,  so deep, so resonant, so reactive.

There are precisely three scenes – Father comes home, the Son comes to stay overnight and they are all up in the morning when the Girlfriend comes to reconcile with the Son – but each are played over and over again, each one a variant on the version before it. It’s like rotating a crystal to view it’s facets.

Any one iteration may be a dream. Maybe they all are. Maybe it’s all Mother’s hallucination.

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Mother is lively. Huppert is lively. Very lively. It’s a very big performance and it, over and over, punched open a spot in my head, moved right in and maintains it’s occupancy still. Tough, vulnerable, frightening and often very sexy. She wears a slip and black stockings better than any 65 year old has a right too. She’s edible and oedipal.

The rest of the cast, which includes Mr. Big, Chris Noth, react as if to say, “Well, what the hell am i supposed to do with that?” which must be performance by now but i’m betting was their intial take as craftsmen. “How do I answer that?” Odessa Young was particularly well cast as the Girl.

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Try to catch it before the run ends this week. Far more iconic than Glenda in Lear, you’re never gonig to see another performance like it. Strong recommendation. The show lasts 90 minutes and the CL never twitched.

 

 

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