Oscar E Moore

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Still Life – arrives and departs still born

November 1st, 2009 by Oscar E Moore

I went to see “Still Life” written by Alexander Dinelaris – produced by MCC Theater at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on the high recommendation of someone whose opinion I greatly admire.   We have to talk.  In any event it is closing today.  In my opinion it barely arrived and is departing still born.

The writing, at times, is excellent with great bantering back and forth dialogue between the sexes.  Other times, yawn inducing.  Basically there are three couples.  Trying to figure out who they were and what they wanted from one another was just another stumbling block to understanding and enjoying this theatrical experience.

Ace photographer Carrie Ann (Sarah Paulson who reminded me of Cynthia Nixon) has recently lost her father Theo (Dominic Chianese) who shows up in flashbacks.  She cannot bring herself to move on and cannot even take a photograph – previous shots that are part of an exhibition are of dead things.  The play is full of dead things.  And references to not being able to live.  Why bother when we are all going to die anyway?  Cheerful stuff here. 

She needs to be helped but when it arrives in the form of trend analyst Jeffrey (Frederick Weller) who has “health problems” she hesitates.  Before long they are an item.  Then there is his boss Terry – who is smarmy and rude and obnoxious – Matthew Rauch does a fantastic job in bringing him to hateful life.  Jeffrey’s friend Sean (Ian Kahn) a doctor who gives him too much information off the record and his wife (Kelly McAndrew) sum up the couples.  It’s hard to connect with them.

We have also the young protégé photographer (an excellent Hally Feiffer) who plays some other minor roles and Adriane Lenox as the woman trying to get Carrie Ann behind the lens once more.

On a cold set by David Korins which serves as the many locations of the many short scenes in this trying trying-to-get-through-life drama, directed briskly by Will Frears I could only wonder why write about these uninteresting depressing people who are not very kind to others or to themselves.  Are we enlightened?

In the program notes by the author he states that “whatever challenges this or any other generation faces, one truth prevails…no matter what, there is still life.”  I only wish his characters really believed and embraced that philosophy.  www.mcctheater.org

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