Barbara Castonguay

Troy and Wright pair well in “Duet For One”

By - Feb 21st, 2010 11:30 pm
Sign-up for the Urban Milwaukee daily email
Jacque Troy as Stephanie Abrahams & C. Michael Wright as Dr. Alfred Feldmann. Photo by Mark Frohna.

Jacque Troy as Stephanie Abrahams & C. Michael Wright as Dr. Alfred Feldmann. Photo by Mark Frohna.

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.

Jacque Troy as Stephanie Abrahams & C. Michael Wright as Dr. Alfred Feldmann.  Photo by Mark Frohna.

Jacque Troy as Stephanie Abrahams & C. Michael Wright as Dr. Alfred Feldmann. Photo by Mark Frohna.

C. Michael Wright, in a restrained and calculated performance, and Troy create an intense and believable relationship as patient and therapist. While Stephanie is at first defiant and flippant, Dr. Feldmann inches her toward her ultimate breakthrough. When it becomes clear that she is not interested in picking up the pieces, he delivers an impassioned and moving speech that drives home the point of the play: the purpose of life is simply life itself.

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.

Categories: Theater

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us