An actor’s sister approached her brother in tears, furious at what she called the play’s “despicable” tactics. A victim of sexual assault wept during the show, yet thanked the cast members afterward for dealing with the subject frankly. Then there was this between two women in the audience: “B---- got what she deserved,” the first one muttered about the accuser. The reply: “How dare you!”
“We’ve all had conversations that have had some heat behind them,” Odmark said.
Yet the Tuesday talkback was perfectly civil, perhaps because the audience — and the three dozen patrons staying for the chat — skewed older. (Ah, theater.) Privately, two women in the audience debated the victim’s plausibility: Was the character genuinely distressed? She was appropriately depressed, her companion suggested. The most dissent during the Q&A came by silent show of hands, when director Matthew Gardiner asked how many people believed the accuser.
Half did. This tendency, with its blame-the-victim implications, gives the company slight heartburn.
Kim Rosen, who plays the accuser’s vividly low-rent Machiavellian sister, said during the talkback: “It’s truly shocking how many people, how many women, leave thinking what happens . . . is something she [the accuser] deserved or asked for.” Bethany Anne Lind, riveting as the accuser (see Peter Marks’ review of the “sterling production”), only half-playfully lamented to Odmark, “They’re always on your side.”
Colaizzo is in New York and hasn’t been able to attend any of the callbacks. “But I can say that while I was there, people would come up to me after the show with their opinions of the characters, and they would [assume] that those were my opinions of the characters as well,” he said via e-mail. “It was fascinating to hear the differing opinions, but I didn't want to give them my opinion because I figured that would somehow validate or invalidate their experience. Some people would say things that really disturbed me, which was probably the hardest part, because I couldn’t respond with how I actually felt.
“But I’d rather have this sort of discussion afterwards than just have everyone leaving the theatre thinking that I’m a really great guy.”
A psychoanalytic discussion is scheduled for the show’s March 25 closing date, so the conversation — which seems to be itching for greater context and amplification, with more experts tossed into the mix — is sure to continue.