This site features my pictures and videos of Vincent D'Onofrio in New York City beginning with my first meeting with him at Joe's Pub on July 22, 2010. Vincent is currently filming the final eight episodes for Season 10 of "Law and Order:Criminal Intent" in NYC. He also has several films due to be released this year and will be directing his next film "Johnny and Me" later this year. Feel free to leave comments and to follow along. Enjoy!
Kathryn Erbe's latest off-Broadway play "Natural Affection" officially opened last Thursday night at the Beckett Theater. I caught a preview last Sunday afternoon, which also was followed by a talkback with the cast and director Jenn Thompson. One comment that Kathryn made really shocked me regarding her portrayal of Sue, the mother of troubled teenager Donnie. Sue was such a difficult role for Kathryn to play that she nearly quit "Natural Affection" before previews began two weeks ago. Whaaa? As the minions would say. :)
Sue, as portrayed by Kathryn, is a successful businesswoman living with a younger, less successful boyfriend who must welcome her illegitimate son Donnie, who's coming home for Christmas. She loves both Donnie and her boyfriend Bernie but feels conflicted about Donnie's return after years of living in an orphanage and a recent stay at a "work farm" for juvenile offenders. After Donnie reveals his abuse by a guard at the work farm, Sue caves to his pleas to let him stay with her so he doesn't have to go back to "the cage." Bernie struggles with his own issues, including his resentment of Sue's greater professional success and his own failed ambition, plus the fact that Sue pays all the bills and buys Bernie's clothes. Yet she badgers him to marry her, citing her advancing age and Donnie's imminent arrival. Oh dear!
"The world looks so ugly sometimes." Sue's first line in the play "Natural Affection" sets the tone for this dark and disturbing tale of a highly dysfunctional family circa 1962 Chicago. Sue is a tough-as-nails businesswoman nearing 40 with a younger boyfriend and a teenage son coming to spend Christmas with them. Son Donnie has had a rough childhood in and out of an orphanage and reform school, or "work farm" and desperately wants to be reunited with him mom so he won't have to go back to the "cage" and can try to have a regular life in the free world.
The tragedy at the core of "Natural Affection" is not only the horrible crime that occurs near the end, but the utter disintegration of this family. Donnie is desperate to be accepted by his mom and Bernie, and weeps like a child after giving Sue a wooden tray he made at the work farm, his first Christmas gift for her. But his unnatural affection for Sue eventually drives them apart, especially after Bernie storms out on Christmas morning after a fight with Sue over his affair with Clare, the tramp next door. After Donnie declares that they are better off without Bernie and that they both can live together as a happy couple "just the two of us" Sue realizes that Donnie is one messed up kid. Her decision to finally reject Donnie and pursue Bernie sets off an explosion of grief, fury and violence on that Christmas day that left me stunned but not surprised. The ugliness of the world seems to have swallowed up everyone, including Donnie, and ithout pity and without mercy.
Kathryn spoke about how Sue was so different in temperament from her and how her own issues regarding motherhood and relationships made it difficult to get a handle on Sue. Sue's bossiness and constant harping at Bernie and her treatment of Donnie were so opposite of Kathryn's true nature that she cslled director Jenn Thompson after the final dress rehearsal two weeks ago to tell her "I can't do this. I quit." Jenn assuaged her anxiety over tackling the role of Sue with the advice of approaching this unsympathetic character with "disgust." Once Kathryn understood, she was able to break through Sue's sweet exterior and bring out her bitter, brittle core. And she does so superbly.
After last night's performance I inroduced Kathryn to Antje, the author of the blog Lovely Kathryn, and Suzanne "Quietfire" who helped created the binders given to Kathryn, Eric and Vincent in 2010. Antje brought her mom from Germany and Suzanne brought her husband from Canada. It was wonderful to meet my friends in person and for them to meet Kathryn for the first time. :)