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Me, Myself & I

Review by Tulis McCall
(12 Sep 2010)

I have no idea what happened. Well, I have a sort of idea. I'm guessing that Edward Albee began writing Me, Myself and I and got de-railed. It happens. This being the ever-hopeful world of theatre, the plans for production went forward. The show, as we are wont to say, must go on.

And this one does. It goes on, and on, and on, and on with nary a white flag in site.

The story is of a self-centered lad, OTTO (Zachary Booth) in his late 20's, who has way too much time on his hands. He is an identical twin, otto - yes it is the same name - (Preston Sadler) and has grown tired of the intimate connection they share. Part of the reason they share such an intimacy is that their Mother, (Elizabeth Ashley) has not been able to tell them apart since the moment they were born. Thus, through her special circuitry of logic, she named them both the same. It made sense to her then and it does now. The only concession she made was that one was "LOUD OTTO" who didn't love her, and the other was "soft otto" who adored her. Even that distinction, however, is of no use to her when she is trying to determine the identity of one or the other. There are great swaths of time where Ashley is forced to ask, "Who ARE you?" Lacking the context of a Meisner workshop for this task, Ashley is not able to do much.

So our mischievous Otto is off to create havoc out of boredom, and everyone else is left to tidy up. This becomes sort of a problem because no one cares much about this Otto except the brother his is hurting. OTTO declares his brother a non-entity and announces that his own reflection in the mirror to be his new and preferred brother. On the way to this declaration OTTO manages to infuriate his Mother, her partner of 28 years, Dr. (Brian Murray) and otto's girlfriend Maureen (Natalie Payne). He infuriates them the way a persistent horse fly might. He prods and pokes and pesters. He even invents the possibility that his father, who walked out of the maternity ward after seeing his sons for the first time, might return. Upset for the sake of upset and nothing more.

None of this sticks together in the remotest way. It is a deadly dull walk through a minefield that is peppered with accents of Beckett, Magritte and oh yes, Albee. Me, Myself and I reminds you of Albee. It is a shadow.

As my friend John Randolph used to say, "You must never blame the actors." Hard to say here where the fault or the fault line lies. The only sticking place to which any courage could be screwed was Brian Murray who kept his head while those about him were losing theirs. The rest of the cast is drowning in a sea of caricature performances. When everyone is a metaphor, no one is anything.

Just be glad you are not Otto's new-found reflection that will follow him everywhere.

(Tulis McCall)

"Disappointingly saggy production."
Ben Brantley for New York Times

"A downright embarrassing mishmash of tired influences and lazy wordplay."
Elisabeth Vincentelli for New York Post

"A fitfully amusing but nonessential work."
Joe Dziemianowicz for New York Daily News

"So much for Albee's comedy of errors: very little comedy and two hours of error."
John Simon for Bloomberg

"A not-to-be-missed serving of delicious existential vaudeville."
Erik Haagensen for Back Stage

"Has passing moments of amusement. But they can't make up for the lack of meaningful conflict in a play that is a decidedly lesser work in the Albee canon."
Robert Feldberg for The Record

"Probably Albee had more fun crafting the play than some viewers will experience in watching it."
Michael Summers for Newsroom Jersey

"One of Albee's more self-indulgent and willfully obscure plays, "Me, Myself & I" is far more frustrating than rewarding"
Frank Scheck for The Hollywood Reporter

"The play feels more like a clever party game than a finished work of theater art from a great playwright."
Marilyn Stasio for Variety

New York Times - New York Post - New York Daily News - Bloomberg - Back Stage - The Record - Newsroom Jersey - The Hollywood Reporter Variety

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