Monday, February 4, 2008


Saturday we drove down to Princeton to the McCarter Theater for the world premier of Edward Albee’s Me, Myself, & I. Never having been to the McCarter before, I found myself pleasantly surprised. The setup of the theater was such that all the seats in the house seemed to have great views of the stage and tickets cost less than half of what a Broadway production usually does.

The play itself was quintessential Albee, raising issues of identity by focusing on an extremely dysfunctional family. The curtain rises on a very simple set—a large bed with nothing around it—on which is sitting Mother, played magnificently by Tyne Daly, and a lump, which we soon learn is Doctor, her lover of the past 28 years. Into the room comes OTTO to announce that he’s leaving home to become Chinese (because “the future’s in the east and I want to be in on it”) and that his brother otto no longer exists and has been replaced. We quickly get the basic identity story line: 28 years ago, Mother gave birth to identical twin boys whom she named OTTO (who matching his name is the loud “evil” twin) and otto (the kinder, more sensitive twin). Despite raising them (along with Doctor after receives the news of the twins and leaves), Mother still can’t tell them apart and needs to ask “Which one are you? Are you the one who loves me?...I never know who you are… Are you the one who hates me?” The rest of the play is made up of a series of short, hysterically funny black-out scenes, each ending with a crashing gong, as otto tries to confirm that he’s really still alive and mother and doctor explore the basis of family and identity.

While I found the ending less than satisfying, the play as a whole works very well and Daly’s acting is a delight. She carries off her character as funny, self-centered, vulnerable, childish, and at times very prejudiced. And Brian Murray, who plays the doctor who should have been an English teacher, is a great sparring partner for her. The Zoo Story will always remain my favorite Albee, but –perhaps thanks to Daly’s acting—Me, Myself, and I will be right up there with The Goat as a next favorite.

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