note: entire contents copyleft 2003 by Will Stackman
Reviewed by Will Stackman
This bioplay, which has had
its share of productions in theatres around the
country in the last eight years, illustrates the
danger of forcing material into a predetermined mold.
There's nothing about Diana Vreeland's life that
suggests it could - or should - be summed up in a
cliche-filled imaginary evening as aging fashion
doyen prepares for a intimate little evening
immediately after her return from the Continent.
She'd gone abroad after being abruptly dismissed from
the editorship of Vogue. Her return was heralded by
bitchy article in the New York Post, which figures too
often in the show.
But go to this latest Nora Theatre Company production for Annette Miller's heroic impersonation of this. Go for Daniel Gidron's careful direction and Bryanna Bloomfield's spot-on set. Go to support Nora Theatre as they forge on toward their own theatre space-shared with the Underground Railway--in Central Square. But the two act script circa 1996,for "Full Gallop" leaves much to be desired. Drawn largely from the subject's acerbic autobiography "D.V.", the piece was originally intended to showcase Mary Louise Wilson's talents at impersonation. Miller's more careful character development exposes the artifice of script's construction, to the detriment of the artifice which was Vreeland's raison d'etre.
Name dropping for an incrowd no longer around to appreciate it becomes tedious. Confining the action to one evening after the cash-strapped Vreeland's return is too restrictive. There's better drama in this material but this lemonade will have to do. Moments, like the Dying Swan, are memorable however. Gidron has manages to keep Miller in motion from anecdote to anecdote, even when the show doesn't seem to be getting anywhere. Those who remember Gerri Librandi over-the-top effort for Merrimack in 1999 may enjoy comparing the two performances. Miller's is much closer to D.V.'s cherished Balenciaga look, courtesy of Gail Astrid Buckley's careful costumery.