Review: Janie Dee in ‘Linda’ & David Mamet’s Latest, ‘The Penitent’

If a doubt of either a lady can have it all creates your eyes glitter over, you’re substantially a man. One theatergoer’s idle margin can be another’s fruitful ground. In a box of Penelope Skinner’s Linda – that non-stop Tuesday during a Manhattan Theatre Club in a neat prolongation destined by MTC a.d. Lynne Meadow – a theme informed to fans of, say, a late Wendy Wasserstein, is given uninformed oxygen in a comment that adds some layers of complexity and topicality to one of a defining issues of a time.

Janie Dee stars as Linda Wilde, a sweat-free multitasker who quietly breezes into her Williams-Sonoma-worthy home kitchen after a full day’s work during a beauty products association where she’s a comparison executive. Throwing together cooking (risotto for husband, pasta for her younger daughter), debriefing them on their mood, Linda roughly sheepishly reminds them that her possess day revolved around a product representation directed during comparison women that she’s certain tender a trainer and will energise a company, aptly called Swan. Daughter Bridget (Molly Ranson) reports that she’s acid for a classical masculine digression to benefaction during a propagandize try-out since “everyone does Ophelia” and she wants to change a world.

“I’m a European Ambassador for Swan Beauty!,” Linda says, we consider yet irony. “What about following in my footsteps? I’m creation a improved universe for we girls to grow adult in.”

Janie Dee

Janie Dee

It substantially goes yet observant that this high-gloss façade fast cracks and slowly, yet inevitably, crumbles: The boss, Dave (John C. Vennema), who’s also her mentor, chooses a some-more youth-inclusive representation from Amy (Molly Griggs), a hotshot new sinecure half Linda’s age. Alice (Jennifer Ikeda), her 25-year-old daughter from an progressing matrimony has nonetheless to redeem from an online slut-shaming part in high propagandize and has dark herself in a skunk dress to make herself “invisible” and to censor her self-inflicted wounds. (She’s so invisible in her possess home that no one seems to notice when she takes a chef’s blade adult to her room.)

As for father Neil (Donald Sage Mackay), a propagandize clergyman and B-type celebrity to Linda’s A, it’s usually a matter of time before his misdemeanour is suggested in a many degrading probable approach for Linda. Skinner stacks a rug opposite Linda so entirely that her unavoidable – and hardly convincing – relapse during a Swan eventuality might strike some as only deserts for a impression whose attributes embody conjunction piety nor empathy. That of march might be precisely a playwright’s point: Would we be some-more sympathetically prone if Linda were a successful masculine cut down so utterly?

The play has been spiffily mounted, with a minute set by Walt Spangler that revolves from home to bureau so frequently it infrequently seems, like Linda herself, only to be display off (Jason Lyons’ pointy lighting boosts a effect). The cast, that includes Maurice Jones as a nonsense-spouting bureau enticement for Linda, couldn’t be better, and Dee, notwithstanding some miscues during a opening we saw, powers by a play with appealing élan in Jennifer von Mayrhauser’s stylish clothes.

In a shutting scene, Skinner plays a nostalgia card, holding us behind to Linda’s initial jubilant detonate by a potion ceiling. It shouldn’t warn us that one effect of such breakthroughs is a showering of fine, blood-letting shards.

Speaking of feeling as yet I’ve been here before: David Mamet’s latest provocation, The Penitent, concerns a psychiatrist who refuses to attest on interest of a happy studious indicted of murdering 10 people in a sharpened spree. This brief blueprint (it’s 80 mins including an nonessential intermission) is a array of cat-and-mouse dialogues between a shrink, Charles (Chris Bauer) and his wife, Kath (Rebecca Pidgeon, a playwright’s wife), his lawyer, Richard (Jordan Lage) and a patient’s counsel (Lawrence Gilliard).

Rebecca Pidgeon and Chris Bauer in The Penitent.

Rebecca Pidgeon and Chris Bauer in “The Penitent.”

In a issue of a killings, Charles apparently has undergone some kind of eremite awakening that has him closely reading a Torah. This might (or might not) have something to do with his remarkable hostility to attest on interest of a studious (something, a killer’s profession points out, he never before has  declined to do). He also has been misquoted in a journal comment that had him dogmatic homosexuality an aberration, when he indeed called it an “adaptation.” (On this there might be a semantic disproportion yet not, we think, a domestic one.)

The profession deposes Charles on matters of Biblical probity — we can hear a quote from Leviticus about a genocide chastisement for homosexual adore entrance a mile divided — and interpretation, and they both seem familiar (suddenly we’re in Inherit The Wind territory). It’s intermittently sparky essay yet eventually idle drama, with an finale that’s reduction a warn turn than a playwright’s acknowledgment that even he’s too wearied to go on.

At a useful Signature Theatre, Will Eno’s Wakey,Wakey, that struck me as gladdened equally to dual Irishmen, Samuel Beckett and James Joyce. The character’s name is Guy, he is wheel-chair firm some of a time and assisted by a sensitive attendant named Lisa (January Lavoy), and his subjects are death, existence and a definition of life. This nearby digression is delivered with exquisite, counsel self-assurance by Michael Emerson (ABC’s The Practice and Lost, and CBS’ Person Of Interest) in a voice during once sarcastic and confessional, an overwhelming combination. Big ones, these questions, yet delivered with a kind of ignorance Beckett mostly abjured yet that Joyce could take pleasure in…Also during a Signature is Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Everybody, this means and uncategorizable playwright’s spin on Everyman. And spin it is, with a 10 actors being reserved roles according to a lottery nearby a commencement of any performance. They are good company. The show, on a other hand, is sophomoric nonsense and fast wears out a welcome. My possess mind wandered to Salzburg, where a new interpretation of a 15th-century myth is achieved any summer underneath a prohibited prohibited Austrian sun.

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