TWO ACTRESSES WASTED IN A BREATH OF LIFE
By Bob and Karen Isaacs
BOB: A Breath of Life by the English playwright David Hare is at the Westport Country Playhouse, running through October 17th. It’s another two-person play.
KAREN: I have to admit I was disappointed in this even though it has two wonderful performers – Jane Alexander and Stockard Channing playing the two women in the piece. I was disappointed in Sir David Hare’s plays.
BOB: I found especially the first act – very tedious. It’s a tale of two women whose lives are interwoven through their relationship with an off-stage character, Martin. Madeleine is a retired curator who is played by Jane Alexander. She lives alone on the Isle of Wight. Frances Beale who arrives unannounced at her home – that is Stockard Channing.
KAREN: The two had met once. Frances was the wife of Martin and Jane Alexander was his longtime mistress. Martin is in the United States with a much younger woman. Starting a new life – again.
BOB: Basically the two women reflect on their lives with Martin and in a sense, perhaps their obsession with him.
KAREN: It all takes place over the course of one night. First of all, the set was wonderful. But I found the play a little tedious.
BOB: I did too but the second act was much better. In the first act they had to lay out all this background material and all their attitudes.
KAREN: I just didn’t FEEL for either of these women. I didn’t feel involved with them. We just saw A Steady Rain in New York with Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig – another two person play, but I felt much more for the characters. I cared about what happened to them.
BOB: They made you feel for them. I have to admit, they didn’t make you feel anything about the people. They were tormented but not enough.
KAREN: David Hare has written some wonderful plays but I don’t think this one reached that level.
BOB: According to the notes he was trying to discuss the obsession with youth and that these women and their generation had help change the world. Yet here they are, left on the Isle of Wight.
KAREN: If you want to see two of our fine actresses display their talents, go see this at the Westport Country Playhouse.
Ran on WNHU-FM 88.7 and wnhu.net