The Playgoer: Best Performance by a leading Actress who will not win a Tony

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Best Performance by a leading Actress who will not win a Tony

Here's an idea for some long-weekend reading, especially for fans of great acting. Celebrate both the vivid descriptive prose of Michael Feingold and three standout performances celebrated by him recently in the pages of the Village Voice. While not one of these fine actresses will even be eligible for a Tony (unless their shows transfer--doubtful) the theatre community is already abuzz that their work in the Off-Broadway nonprofit realm this season is not to be missed. The pilgrimages made to these theatres each night are even making tickets hard to come by. It is a personal goal of mine to catch each in the coming month while I can. (Limited runs are a worse curse of non-profit than any loss of Broadway & Tony glow.)

With links to reviews of their work by Feingold (to my mind the greatest champion of acting left in the critical establishment) these three current nominees for First Lady of the American Theatre are:

Lois Smith in Horton Foote's chestnut, The Trip to Bountiful
Dana Ivey in Shaw's early masterpiece, Mrs. Warren's Profession
Julie White in Douglas Carter Beane's latest, The Little Dog Laughed

6 comments:

June said...

I agree completely about Michael Feingold--he's a great critic and is especially strong on actors/acting. Very few critics (of any lively art) focus on acting--among the movie critics, David Edelstein (until recently of Slate, now of New York) is the only one I can think of.

Anonymous said...

I wish M. Feingold were as kind to playwrights as he is to actors. Oops, but just like Margo J and Neil G he is a failed playwright!

Andrew said...

Michael Feingold's one of the few that I look forward to reading every week. Of course I'm an actor and not a playwright.

The Playgoer said...

Anonymous--Actually Feingold's tranlsations of Brecht, Schiller and other German & French & Italian playwrights are widely performed. So inasmuch as a tranlsator is an author of scripts and, thus, a playwright, I contest your judgement of him as "failed."

Anonymous said...

What do you think translators are? Frustrated generative artists! They can't do the real thing. We need them, but let's not confuse translation with creation.

The Playgoer said...

Now, now... I actually feel the translation issue is mad important. Bad translations of the past (done mostly by learned academics with a dramatic tin ear) have done immeasurable damage to the survival of non-english classics in our repertoire--making us the most provincial and insular theatre culture in the world. We *need* good playwrights doing translation. And real translation--not the kind of paraphrasing jobs many famous writers have done (Mamet, Greeenberg) based on no knowledge of the original, with the aid of researchers.