Troy and Wright pair well in “Duet For One”
How much could any of us stand to lose?
Playwright Tom Kempinski composed a drama, based on the tragic life of cellist Jacqueline du Pre, that explores the nature of loss, the disintegration of body and spirit, and the fears that linger just beneath the surface of our everyday selves.
Du Pre was a British virtuoso widely regarded as one of the greatest players of the instrument. The onset of multiple sclerosis in 1971 forced her to cease performing at 28 and led to her death in 1987, at 42.
Kempinski organized the play into six therapy sessions. The play’s two characters are psychiatrist Alfred Feldmann and violinist Stephanie Abrahams, the playwright’s fictionalized version of du Pre.
To research her role, Jacque Troy spent time in a rehabilitation facility with several patients afflicted with multiple sclerosis. Her research paid off; she imbues her character with the unique physical presence of a woman whose body is slowly betraying her. At first a larger-than-life presence, Troy gradually shrinks into a woman overcome by her demons and unable to cope with her new life. The play belongs to Troy. Her nuanced reading completely embodies her character’s damaged psyche. She reveals Stephanie’s emotional wounds in layers.
More than one woman’s tragic story, this thoughtful production by Milwaukee Chamber Theatre speaks to our own fears of loss, to our anger at the things we cannot control, to our feelings of vulnerability, and to the fragility of our carefully constructed realities.
Duet for One opened on February 18th and runs through March 14th in the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre. For more information on the production, visit Milwaukee Chamber Theatre or call 414-276-8842.