Thursday, May 12, 2016

I Have Always Depended on the SoCo of Strangers

A photo posted by Jason Adams (@jasonaadams) on
If you're in New York or within flying distance of New York - in other words, if you are anywhere, currently breathing - you have got to get yourself a ticket to see Gillian Anderson's Blanche DuBois, you guys. It is just... it is just astonishing.
I actually couldn't even speak about the show as we left the theater and walked to the subway -- every time I opened my mouth to say something I had to swallow down a humiliating sob I felt coming up. I've lived here in New York long enough to see a few performances that've been deemed extraordinary - I have seen Vanessa Redgrave do The Year of Magical Thinking and Kathleen Turner do Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, off the top of my head - but none of them destroyed me like what Gillian just did to me last night.

The performance is big, but only big enough to match the character - the specifics are absolutely heartbreaking. I was, and am, so shaken up at the end that I honestly see Tennessee Williams in a completely different light today. She surgically dissected what often felt stagey and actorish - people speaking his dialogue and posing his poses are often swallowed up by it, ya know? But her Blanche, so preening and pretend, so terribly terribly wrecked and ruined, my hands are actually trembling right now feeling for her. I'm sure people's mileage may vary but to me, personally, this will probably define for a lifetime what I think of as possible in theater.


Tom M said...

Amen. I want the NTLive film version in my house now. Though I don't know if I could take watching that self-destruction again and again...

Anonymous said...

And while the NTL filming was terrific, seeing this in person brought this to a tragic, greater height. Devastating, terrifying, transfixing. I was lucky to sit first row, and at my feet was Stanley?Ben on the ground, screaming, bellowing, howling "Stella". I was breathless hearing him grunt, pant, drunk and destroyed. Gillian's final walk around the perimeter of the audience, seemingly for hours, as she was escorted out, was torturous and moving and remarkable at her wordless raw emotion. So glad you got to experience this.

Anonymous said...

My nephew just watched the play. Said it's the best Blanche on stage he's ever seen....mind you, he's even saw the great Cate Blanchett in Australia and affirmed not even Cate can touch Gillian's performance. I was rather surprised to hear that from him being a fan of Cate.

par3182 said...
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FoxVerde said...

i wish i could see it. :(
what is the NTL filming? is that like pbs or something? where can it be seen?