Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Howard & Janet Kagan
Patti LuPone and Debra Winger
(The Anarchist Web Page)
Written and Directed by David Mamet
252 West 45th Street
New York, NY
Scenic & Costume Design: Patrizia Von Brandenstein
Lighting Design: Jeff Croiter
Casting: Telsey + Company
William Cantler, CSA,
Sharon Bialy & Sherry Thomas, CSA
Press Representative: Irene Gandy/Alana Karpoff
Production Stage Manager: William Joseph Barnes
Company Manager: Jennifer Hindman Kemp
Technical Supervision: Hudson Theatrical Associates
General Manager: Richards/Climan, Inc.
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 11, 2012
A master director, such as David Mamet, who also wrote The Anarchist, should know that a woman who’s been imprisoned for most of her life would not have blond highlights in her brown hair. Even in her dull, dreary ponytail, in this very dull dreary play, Patti LuPone, as Cathy, sports some highlights and lowlights, which weren’t changed to patches of grey, a more credible detail. Deborah Winger, as Ann, Cathy’s prison superior, in charge of Cathy’s parole or extended stay in a woman’s detention facility, wears an overly tight, dark pantsuit, with Cathy in loose jeans and androgynous jacket. Both women are tense, yet detached, argumentative, yet soporific. Yes, there was loud snoring in my row and in the row in front. This Mamet play did not blast or burst. Rather it drifted and dawdled like drizzle.
Cathy, a convicted activist-murderer, mumbles soliloquies on religion to prove to Ann that she’s now mature and humbled. But, the endless, agonizing, inaudible speeches, spoken in one-note tone, are worse than a verbatim reading of the new testament, even worse than a verbatim reading of the dictionary. I was astounded that the same playwright who kept me enthralled in stage and film productions of Glengarry Glen Ross, as well as in Race, Speed-the-Plow, and November, would throw together this exercise in mental exhaustion. The 70 minute play seemed like watching an all-day religious lecture. Ann’s soliloquies, if possible, were even more interminable, as they had no underlying meaning or theme whatsoever, not religious, not behavioral, not moral. They seemed to be based, if I strained to analyze, on free association logic.
Mr. Mamet, as mentioned above, directed his own play. I doubt another director could have added spark or life, as the script was what it was. Given that the set was a table and two chairs, the cast was two actors, and the play lasted a bit over one hour, no intermission, this threadbare production need not be revised or revived. The concept of prisoner and superior, two females in critical confrontation, is, however, a worthy one. Maybe Mr. Mamet will write this anew. Having a star who draws ticket sales, as does Ms. LuPone, is useless, if the play itself is useless. A good play with less renowned actors can still do well, if not on Broadway, then on the small stage. David Mamet is a master playwright with an esteemed theatrical repertoire. He deserves a pass on this one.
“The Anarchist” on Broadway"
with Patti LuPone and Debra Winger
Courtesy of Joan Marcus