Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Fringe - Day 4 - Part 2

The Art of Ruth Draper
MCTC Whitney Studio

It's always great to see good material in the hands of an actress who really loves and relishes playing it. That's what we have here with Kathleen Douglass taking on four of Ruth Draper's characters.

High society or low, life of leisure or mired in a thankless job, Kathleen Douglass finds the essential humanity at the center of each of these women and brings them fully to life. More often than not, their character quirks inspire the audience to smile and laugh - the congested and harried German language teacher or the society matron trying to run a meeting and her children's lives the way she thinks they should behave. Even the southern belle, working her way through a series of potential suitors, greatly amuses us with her bag of tricks. But there is also an underlying poignancy that makes you catch your breath. The Irish cleaning lady just trying to get through her lot in life as best she can is a touching portrait. And when the southern belle meets up with a suitor who truly engages her passions against all commonsense and propriety, her longing to be swept away is quite lovely.

The only thing one could find fault with is that it is over far too soon. Hopefully the success of this Fringe show will provide Kathleen with some leverage with the Draper Company so they'll release some more of Draper's characters for her to share with us in the future. It's a great match of material and artist.

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