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The Voysey Inheritance at Atlantic Theater Company

- Backstage with the Playwrights

Atlantic Theater Company Presents
The Voysey Inheritance
(Ticket Website)
Presented by the
Atlantic Theater Company
Atlantic Mainstage
336 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011

By Harley Granville Barker
Adapted by David Mamet
Directed by David Warren

With: Rachel Black, Christopher Duva, Steven Goldstein, Peter Maloney, Tricia Paoluccio, Judith Roberts,
Geddeth Smith, Samantha Soule, Michael Stulhbarg
Fritz Weaver, Todd Weeks, C. J. Wilson

Sets by Derek McLane
Costumes by Gregory Gale
Lighting by Jeff Croiter
Music Research & Sound by Fitz Patton
Music Director: David Chase
Casting: Telsey & Company
Dialect Coach: Stephen Gabis
Production Stage Manager: David H. Lurie
Production Manager: Lester Grant
General Manager: Linda Berk
Associate Artistic Director: Christian Parker
Press Representative: Boneau/Bryan-Brown

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 24, 2007

David Mamet has adapted Harley Granville Barker’s remarkably timely British parlor piece, The Voysey Inheritance, along with Derek McLane’s grandiose set and Gregory Gale’s period costumes, with creative streamlining and riveting characterization. What a pleasure to view theater that’s packed with politesse. In 1905, Chislehurst, England, a family/business drama unfolds in the parlor of The Voysey House. Romance and rebuke are kept in check, as the head of the family firm (Fritz Weaver as Mr. Voysey) of solicitors announces to his son (Michael Stuhlbarg as Edward Voysey) that, for decades, he has been supporting the family on his clients’ funds, while paying dividends due to one with fresh funds from another. In other words, they have been living off the books.

Edward’s horror and shame are palpable, in this setting of fancy furniture, silver, and floor-to-ceiling collectible art. This setting was evocative of the Barnes Collection, with every inch of wall used to showcase an eclectic assortment of renowned artworks. Michael Stuhlbarg (who was nominated in 2005 for a Tony Award for The Pillowman) is possessed with outsized stage presence and searing emotional theatricality. His “on the shelf” fiancée, Alice Maitland (Samantha Soule), a very patient lady of the times, waits for Edward to “fix” the books and go to jail, if necessary, to clear the family name. In other words, accept responsibility, after the elder Mr. Voysey suffers a sudden demise.

There is a room full of Voyseys, and Judith Roberts, as Mrs. Voysey (Edward’s mother), knows more than she appears to absorb. Her faux absent-mindedness provides lighthearted moments in the unraveling of the family’s tough veneer. C. J. Wilson, as Major Booth Voysey, Edward’s volatile, self-possessed and self-protective brother, serves in a contrast of conscience to Edward, the troubled new head of the firm. Tricia Paoluccio, as Ethel Voysey, a society matron, and Rachel Black, as Honor Voysey, Edward’s faith-filled sister, are true to the genre and gentility. Christopher Duva, as Trenchard Voysey, an estranged and embittered brother, travels below the radar, while Todd Weeks, as Hugh Voysey, the aesthetic member of the brood, remains loyal to his father’s devices, as they had served the family well and seemed inherently creative.

A major character with a pivotal role is Peter Maloney, as George Booth, a friend and investor in the firm, who presents the watershed event, his decision to withdraw all his funds (which no longer exist). His subsequent behavior and determined solution are quite British upper-class, yet, in the scope of the drama, are seen as avarice and callousness. Smaller roles, Steven Goldstein as Mr. Peacey and Geddeth Smith as Reverend Evan Colpus, provide texture to the financial and family unravelings. David Mamet has done a splendid job of seamlessly synthesizing the original production, and the timeliness of this effort is noteworthy, in the face of today’s corporate corruption and ongoing trials. Today’s investors have a different way with words.

(l-r) Samantha Soule as Alice Maitland and Tony Award(r) nominee Michael Stuhlbarg as Edward Voysey in Atlantic Theater Company’s New York premiere production of David Mamet’s new adaptation of Harley Granville Barker’s classic play THE VOYSEY INHERITANCE. Directed by David Warren.
Photo courtesy of Monique Carboni

(l-r) C.J. Wilson, Todd Weeks, Michael Stuhlbarg, Christopher Duva, Judith Roberts and Rachel Black in Atlantic Theater Company’s New York premiere production of David Mamet’s new adaptation of Harley Granville Barker’s classic play THE VOYSEY INHERITANCE. Directed by David Warren.
Photo courtesy of Monique Carboni

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