The late great actress Helen Hayes is said to have described the parameters of a theater review as follows: It should be no more than 50 words and should only say what it's about, who's in it, and how it was received. This four-day world premiere is short enough in terms of its length and substance to put Ms. Hayes' theory to the test.
Starr's Last Tape written by two editors of The Nation takes its inspiration from the recent investigation by independent counsel Kenneth Starr and Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape. In a vault-like room Starr, dressed in a prison-like orange jump suit, is dictating his memoirs. Like Krapp, he has a penchant for bananas and constantly interrupts himself -- in this case to move from a treadmill to a table where he dictates and replays bits and pieces from his collection of tapes; also fielding calls from "Lucy" (literary agent Lucianne Goldberg), Linda (Tripp) and Janet Reno. It's all intended to be a hilarious satire on his Inspector Javert gotcha game with the Clintons.
For who's in it and responsible for staging it, see the production notes below. As for the audience reaction: They laughed, but very intermittently and after a while many a glazed look was in evidence. Some overheard exit comments: "Enough is enough" . . . "Beckett, it's not!". . ."the longest hour and 15 minutes I've spent". . ."I felt sorry for the actor!" I'll add an "Amen" and my apologies by exceeding the 50-word limit by some 100 words.
|STARR'S LAST TAPE|
An improvisation on History in One Act
By Victor Navasky and Richard Lingeman
Directed by Eric Hill.
Brian Reddy as Kenneth Starr
Scenic Design: Jessica Wade
Costume Design: Toni Wright
Lighting Design: Tammy Owens Slauson
Sound Design: Richard M. Dionne
Sound Design Consultant: Jim van Bergen Running time: 1 hour and 15 minutes, without inermission
Berkshire Theatre Festival's Unicorn Theatre, Stockbridge, MA
August 24 - August 28, 1999
Reviewed by Elyse Sommer based on August 25 performance