Calista in Virginia Woolf

Last week, I told you all about the shows I saw on Broadway.  While I was watching Patti LuPone in Company, I thought what an interesting Martha she would be in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.  Instead, I saw Calista Flockhart attempt the role at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.  From her first entrance, I was distracted by her striking resemblance to the late Lee Remick.  No longer is Calista the clothes hangar we remember.  She is now a multi-layered, multi-dimensional, fuller figured (or padded) woman.  That she isn’t an ideal Martha is unsurprising.  But she is eminently competent – high praise given my expectations.  I would even venture to say that her first two acts were good…in their own way.  She’s more bossy than blousy; more coquettish than cantankerous; more mischievous than malevolent.  All valid choices.  That it fell apart in the last act was not unexpected, but jarring nonetheless.  She simply could not sustain her intention.  Her partner, Zachary Quinto, was so low-key (even for him) that the first two acts dragged.  His last act had some juice.  He was coming up, Calista was coming down, and they never intersected long enough to save the show.  One is almost grateful that these actors are somewhat young for their roles (although not chronologically) and they each have a good 10-20 years left to try them again.

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