Who is theater for? Should artists be paid a decent wage? These are the questions you will be asking yourself after seeing Richard Nelson’s Illyria.
I have to admit I am not a big fan of playwright/ director Richard Nelson (The Apple Family and Gabriel Family plays). I don’t exactly want to watch people having a conversation and not be in it. Illyria, takes Nelson’s material to a new kind of low energy, where had I not read my playbill, I would not have known one of the characters was Colleen Dewhurst (Rosie Benton), one of my favorite actress’s of all time. To think those sandwich’s were being served in Ms. Dwehurst’s and George C. Scott’s UWS apartment. We are supposably watching the birth of the New York Shakespeare Festival, but what it seems like is catty people bitching about the state of the arts.
Joseph Papp (John Magaro), who I worked for and adored is made to sound whiney and monotone. His tight circle of friends consists of Joe’s wife, Peggy Papp (Kristen Connolly), his friend and future partner Bernie Gersten (Will Brill), director Stuart Vaughan (John Sanders), Stuart’s wife, Gladys (Emma Duncan), Papp’s assistant, Papp’s side kick press agent Merle Debuskey (Fran Kranz), composer David Amram (Blake DeLong) and Papp’s stage manager (Max Woertendyke).
Illyria: Public Theater / Anspacher Theater 425 Layette, until Dec. 10th.