Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

Tru
Palm Beach Dramaworks
Review by John Lariviere | Season Schedule


Rob Donohoe
Photo by Samantha Mighdoll
Palm Beach Dramaworks presents Tru by Jay Presson Allen. This one-man show pays tribute to novelist and playwright Truman Capote dealing with the aftermath of a 1975 Esquire magazine publication of a story entitled “La Côte Basque 1965.” The story is an excerpt from Capote’s unfinished novel "Answered Prayers," in which he cattily reveals the dirty secrets of many of his socially prominent female friends behind characters that are so thinly veiled that their true identities are obvious to all.

Ostracized from New York society, and shunned by many of his former friends, Capote finds himself alone in his apartment at the United Nations Plaza on New York City’s East River as Christmas approaches. In his own high-camp style, Capote gossips, ruminates, and self-medicates rather than indulge in regrets and recrimination.

The set for this production is stunning in its use of the theatrical space, establishment of the time period, Capote’s personal style, and enviable view of the city. One could virtually live quite comfortably in such a beautifully designed and executed set; and actor Rob Donohue as Truman Capote makes himself at home ensconced in such tasteful surroundings.

As for the script, one could wish that it took advantage of more of the plethora of Capote's scathing quips and colorful personal stories, but it is more a study of a moment of self-examination rather than a celebration of his style and wit. Donohue starts out a bit uneven, sounding a tad like Carol Channing in the opening scene. He soon hits his stride, effectively conveying the nervousness and vulnerability Capote keeps at bay behind a sharp tongue and a stiff drink. Donohue nails some of Capote’s inflections, facial expressions and mannerisms, with his only flaw being inconsistent pacing. The two short acts sputter rather than fly by, as he seems to spend time pondering the acting at hand too long before propelling forward toward the next moment. Once you have an interesting character with something to say, and an actor able to play it, the key to any one-man show is pacing, pacing, pacing.

The Broadway production of Tru opened on December 14, 1989, at the Booth Theatre, where it ran for 297 performances. It received the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play (Robert Morse) and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show. Morse also went on to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his recreation of the role in the 1992 American Playhouse presentation of Tru.

American born playwright Jaqueline (Jay) Presson Allen is best known for her work as a screenwriter on such films as Marnie, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Cabaret, The Borrowers, Funny Lady, and Deathtrap.

Tru will be appearing at the Don & Ann Brown Theatre through January 1, 2017. The theatre is located at 201 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. For more information, call 561-514-4042 or 561-514-4042, or visit www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.

Cast:
Truman Capote: Rob Donohoe*

Crew:
Director: Lynnette Barkley
Scenic/Lighting Design: Paul Black
Sound Design: Brad Pawlak
Costume Design: Brian O'Keefe
Stage Manager: Suzanne Clement Jones*

*Indicates a member of Actor's Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States


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