Impressions of ‘Anna Christie’ Off Broadway
(Entry below was hand written on 5/20/2002)
Saturday night I went to go see an off-Broadway production ofAnna Christie, a play by Eugene O’Neill. The acting was sort of lacking, but the main character looked like someone who lives for the stage. She was ghostly white and her face appeared so taut and gaunt, with poorly applied blush in lines on her cheeks. Her big blue eyes seemed accustomed to staring out blankly, to create the illusion of a scene freezing in time, or of looking and pondering something visible only in the distance.
The play had to do with Anna going to visit her estranged father, after many years of living on a farm and working like a dog. The father thought that that life was preferable to Anna living at sea with him. He was a sailor. The most convincing actor in the play was the father, and second would have to be Anna’s love interest, Matt. The actress playing Anna sounded (at times) as if she were merely rereading her lines. I found it hard to feel anything for her.
The father and Matt assumed that Anna was chaste and innocent to the ways of the world and men, but she drops a bombshell and tells them that she was living as a prostitute. The old man curses the sea for her ‘dirty tricks’ and for bringing a shipwrecked sailor on board for Anna to fall in love with. It ends sort of happily, with Anna and Matt deciding to marry and the old man still accusing the sea as an all-knowing mischievous demon with a menacing purpose.
There were a couple of models in the audience who (as my friend, J, pointed out) must have had some connection to the lead actress playing ‘Anna’ because they appeared in the film Zoolander with a bunch of other models. One of them ran up on stage at the end, to hug the lead actress and give her roses. The reason I got to see the play was because a former coworker of mine (while I was interning at a free NYC weekly paper) played a very small role (a bartender) in the beginning of the play.
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