'Mary Page Marlowe' review: Tracy Letts traces life of one woman played by six actresses
“Mary Page Marlowe,” a frustratingly non-impact and not particularly well-acted drama at Second Stage through Aug. 12, recalls the notion of seeing something six ways from Sunday – as in, from every angle.
As such, the title character is played by a half-dozen actresses of various ages, as Mary Page’s life unfolds out of sequence. Not ground-breaking, but intriguing — at least on paper.
Lila Neugebauer (“The Wolves”) directs the production on a curvy, bi-level slatted white set — a blank slate of sorts. The play nags from the get-go. Middle-aged Mary Page, an accountant, tells her two kids she and their dad are divorcing. It’s not their fault. Blah, blah, blah.
Blair Brown, left, and Brian Kerwin in “Mary Page Marlowe.” (Joan Marcus)
Letts, the Tony- and Pulitzer-winner behind “August: Osage County,” is too smart a writer not to realize that this exchange has played out about a million times. At least.
The point may be to marvel in the mundane and the unusual when it comes to Mary Page, whose history suggests why she drinks too much, bed-hops and grapples with life. Hence, there’s the fleet of actresses playing her including Blair Brown, Tatiana Maslany of “Orphan Black” and Susan Pourfar, a very fine actress who finds little traction in this material.
The script drops references to puzzles and quilts – two decent metaphors for piecing together a whole from disparate parts. In the end, this accountant’s story reminds that not every balance sheet or life — or play — adds up.