D and Kate

Friday, June 17th, 2005 | Friends, Performance

D and I just saw Kate Mulgrew in Tea at Five, a one-woman show about Katherine Hepburn. The house was only half-filled, due to unenthusiastic reviews, with tourists with their half-priced tickets, and gay couples. The first half takes place in her family’s seaside home in Connecticut 1938, with Kate vainly trying to get cast as Scarlet O’Hara, 6 flops in a row and Howard Hughes behind her, just before her triumphant return to the screen in The Philadelphia Story. The second half takes place years later, in 1983, pretty much everybody in her life dead, and Warren Beaty sending flowers to convince her to return to the screen yet again. Kate Mulgrew did a great job with the role, with brief moments that went beyond impersonation, particularly in the second act when she twists Hepburn’s physical disintegration to stunning comic and tragic effect. She drops the monologue altogether, jiggling her head and shifting her weight, freezing, re-imagining all of the Hepburn tics that we’re so familiar with as a kind of Japanese butoh dance.

Did you people read or see Awakenings? It’s D! I go away for a week and he’s had like 3 dates, his phone buzzing constantly, is all flirty on the phone with his man friends, studying film history, asking me to plays, hanging with the Movie-Bears, making friends, we walk down the street and everybody’s like “Hey D!” and “Woof!” I didn’t know that people still said that. Yes, indeed, my big furry ward is getting better. It has been a long slow horrible crawl to that woof, and tonight I was so happy and proud. He even looks different, projecting confidence and charm. He is finally waking up. He’s alive, alive I tell you!!

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