Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Theater Review: Me, Myself, I

Identity, Reality Depend on What You See in the Mirror
By Lauren Yarger
Would you exist if someone decided you didn’t? Can reality be defined by love? These and other perplexing questions propel Edward Albee’s intriguing yet bizarre new play Me, Myself, & I running Off Broadway in its New York premiere at Playwright’s Horizons.

The questions start when OTTO (Zachary Booth) decides that his identical twin brother (Preston Sadleir) doesn’t exist any more and tries to convince his mother (Elizabeth Ashley), her boyfriend, Doctor (Brian Murray), and his brother’s girlfriend, Maureen (Natalia Payne) that he really is both of the identities in one person. And oh, OTTO also has decided that he will become Chinese.

Mother is confused enough already, having given both boys the same name with one slight difference: one is upper case OTTO, the evil one -- or is he?; the other one is small case otto. She hasn’t been able tell the twins apart since their birth when their father abandoned the family and left her on her own to raise them. She continually asks each boy, “Which one are you -- are you the one who loves me?”

Doctor filled the father’s shoes, or bed rather, 28 years ago, but sleeps fully clothed because the family keeps reminding him that Father might return at any time bringing panthers and emeralds (don’t ponder this too much) and reclaim his place in Mother’s bed and with the boys. Doctor brags that he can tell the twins apart because neither one loves him, but Maureen isn’t so lucky. She loves lower cased Otto, but ends up having sex with OTTO unaware that he’s not his brother.

It’s all just a little bizarre and confusing. The characters address the audience from time to time (Murray’s perfect timing with tongue-in-cheek delivery make his lines the most effective this way) with one of the twins leaning nonchalantly against the proscenium while watching his brother interact with the others. Set Designer Thomas Lynch ingeniously uses golden strips on the sides and across the top of stage to create the effect of a giant beveled mirror, creatively placing the observing brother outside the mirror looking in.

Director Emily Mann’s casting of two actors who look and act so incredibly alike (aided by Kenneth Posner’s lighting design and Jennifer von Mayrhauser’s costuming) will send you to your Playbill biographical listings several times to confirm that the men aren’t real-life identical twins. It’s intriguing and Ashley is fun as the bewildered mother with hair as frazzled as her emotions.

Why Mann didn’t urge an awkward Payne to do something besides stand with her arms outward in a pleading position every time she speaks is not clear, however, but then neither is a lot of the storyline. As OTTO keeps telling us, “Confusion is its own master. It brings itself with it.”

It sure does, especially in this play, but in then end, Albee makes confusion a lot more fun than you’d think it could be. Me, Myself & I runs through Oct. 31 at Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42nd St., NYC. Tickets are available by calling 212-279-4200.

Christians might also like to know:
Sexual dialogue
Sexual activity
Lord’s name taken in vain

No comments:
Create A Buzz About Your Book
Custom Search
Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

All Posts on this Blog