Melissa Rose Bernardo
August 02, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Play Yourself

type
Stage
Current Status
In Season
run date
07/10/02-08/04/02
performer
Elizabeth Marvel, Marian Seldes
director
Craig Lucas
author
Harry Kondoleon

We gave it a B

When Harry Kondoleon died in 1994 of complications from AIDS, the 39-year-old writer-poet-painter had amassed 17 plays, including Zero Positive, Saved or Destroyed, and this oddly engrossing piece. Part comedy, part drama, and all enigma, Play spotlights Jean (Marian Seldes), a faded film star with a passion for white wine and silver-screen memories. She coexists with dumpy daughter Yvonne — until their dreamy, dreary world is fractured by a sticky-fingered senior and a Godot-like mystery man. Director Craig Lucas (Prelude to a Kiss) — a playwright familiar with the fantastical — keeps the surreal show grounded, and pros like Elizabeth Marvel (revelatory as Yvonne) luxuriate in Kondoleon’s quirky characters. As for stage grande dame Seldes, her every gesture, sigh, and expression is exquisite. Play’s not perfect, but she may be.

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