Theater News Online
free issue
London Theatre Reviews
NY Theater Reviews
LTN Recommendations
NYTN Recommendations
Book Reviews
Movie Reviews
London Theatre Archives
NY Theater Archives
Latest New York News
Latest London News
NY News Archives
London News Archives
Peter Filichia's Monday Quiz
Dining and Travel
London Theatre Listings
NY Broadway Listings
Off-Broadway Listings
London Tickets
Advertise with us

Subscribe
Renew
Give a Gift


Logo

Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

 
EDGE
at the Arc Light Theater ( Off-Broadway)

DOWN THE PRIMROSE PLATH
By David Lefkowitz

  Angelica Torn

Undoubtedly there's a lesson to be learned from the life and death of Sylvia Plath, but two recent bios of the suicidal poetess have done little to shake my feeling that Plath was not so much a victim of tragic fate or spurned love as of the unavailability of Zoloft.

In the 2003 film, Sylvia, Gwyneth Paltrow made for a mournful Plath, allowing herself to get overly depressed at career lulls and spousal infidelity. That same year, Paul Alexander's monodrama, Edge , presented Plath in a more manic fashion, swinging from a garrulous ironist to an outright hysteric. Laudatory reviews greeted Angelica Torn's turn in the solo, which she's currently recreating in a limited run at off-Broadway's Arc Light Theater.

Torn tells the lifestory briskly, the words often tumbling out of her until she sounds like one of those radio commercials where all pauses for breath have been edited out. She also brings physicality to a woman we might otherwise assume to be more ethereal - i.e., the cliché of the depressed female poet wasting away. Torn conveys much by unbuttoning a button or unleashing a Cheshire-cat smile. And when she twice mimes pregnancy, we'd swear the baby bump was real.

Of course, with all that energy and intelligence, it's infuriating that a woman with so much self-knowledge would allow herself to be flushed down a vortex of hopelessness. Such, however, is the continued mystery of mental illness. Except in Edge, the villain is not Plath's brain chemistry but her hubby, Ted Hughes, who is demonized to a level that would make Satan cringe. This frustrates because we're never sure whether that point of view is Alexander's, or if he's simply letting Plath rant unfiltered during her darkest moments.

To be sure, at Edge's finale many audience members stood and applauded Torn's marathon run as the tortured author of The Bell Jar. Brava, I guess, but as the monologue drifted well past the two-hour mark, I couldn't help echoing Hughes' alleged exhortation to Sylvia: Just do it already!

 

 

 


SUBSCRIBE TO New York Theater News
SUBSCRIBE TO London Theater News

SCHEDULE UPDATES -
Yes, Prime Minister contracts its run, while A Chorus Line expands its own.
POWERHOUSE OF THEATRE - After 11 years as the Almeida Theatre's artistic director, Michael Attenborough is stepping down to focus on directing. 

SONGS FROM THE HEART - Once the Tony-Award winning musical is set to hit London in January.


Wine, Fruit, and Gourmet Gift Baskets.
Privacy Notice   |   Front Page
Copyright © TheaterNewsOnline.com. All Rights Reserved.