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TheatreWorks pays tribute to Lynn Redgrave

By Joanne G. Rochman , Acorn Press


Theatre Works, New Milford: Leave it to director Jane Farnol and actress Susan Pettibone to take on the late Lynn Redgrave's autobiographical one-woman show. Lynn Redgrave, the daughter of the great Shakespearean actor Sir Michael Redgrave, wrote this play in 1993.

Essentially, it is Lynn's story of what it was like growing up as the daughter of a legend. While it is the specific story of a famous father and daughter, it is also a universal story of a child searching for a busy parent.

Pettibone not only steps into Redgrave's shoes, but sits on the chair that Redgrave used in the show when she performed it on Broadway. Overall, Pettibone does an admirable job of the near Herculean task and enters the stage through the audience and singing gaily.

Pettibone has a pitch-perfect voice, so she gets off to a grand start as she sets the scene for a trip down Redgrave's memory lane. Then, raising the pitch of her voice to mimic Redgrave as a little girl and lowering her voice to suggest either Redgrave's nanny or father or other character, Pettibone holds the attention of the audience for the first half hour.

Redgrave's play is so full of interesting theater information and celebrated theater names that it shines through the performance, even when Pettibone's voice becomes a bit monotonous in the second half of the show. At one point, Pettibone forgot to switch voices and confused the otherwise unique characters.

Farnol directed and co-designed the set along with Susan Pettibone, with Richard Pettibone's lighting and Tom Libonate's sound. The set features a poster size photograph of Sir Michael Redgrave, which hangs suspended and is prominently in view throughout the play. Farnol understood the irony that Redgrave wove into the play and obviously communicated it well to Pettibone.

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