Through February 16|
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S TheatreLoft/American Repertory Theatre of WNY
Think about it: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
It’s a movie name familiar to most, Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” and Audrey Hepburn, with that little black dress and the cigarette holder as Holly Golightly.
What’s the movie actually about?
It’s about a gay guy and a “good-time girl.”
In the days when Truman Capote wrote the original story, that was a tabloid newspaper code word for a call girl, someone who moved in important circles and took money on the side.
For the movie and the Production Code, it wasn’t all that clear.
It’s more clear in ART’s production of the Richard Greenberg adaptation of the story.
Here, it’s Candice Kogut as Holly, Ryan Kaminski as the guy she calls “Fred,” Christopher Wagner as Rusty Trawler and a bunch of hangers-on who are part of the party circle, Dewel Perez’ Jose, as an example.
He’s also Yunioshi, the building manager.
Fred is an aspiring writer who struggles with jobs to keep himself going in his garret and with his love of Holly and disapproval of her behavior, with men and alcohol.
Fred is the person who meets Doc (Robert Ernie Insana), who has arrived from the backwoods of Tulip, Texas to reclaim the wife he married at 14 and who abandoned him.
Lula Mae Barnes has become Holly Golightly.
Holly had chosen the New York City of the fashion magazines of the day over Tulip and abandoned Doc and has no plans to go back.
At least, she wants to stay in Manhattan until the feds go after one of her boyfriends and decide to use her as a weapon against him.
She goes to jail to await conversations.
Making bail, she leaves her property and her cat to Fred and takes off.
That’s one of the subplots of the show, since it opens with possible Holly sightings and concludes with questions about where she went.
Clearly, this is a New York story, life in the “café society” of those post-World War II years, night clubs and booze and mobsters and good-time girls.
It’s a society we know best from sources like Capote’s writing and may not truly understand.
The production is uneven because Holly is empty calories, interested only in herself and her pleasurable sensations.
You like Fred because he’s a guy trying to get by and who is truly concerned for Holly.
Kogut does well with a weak hand, a character who isn’t a woman of this time while Fred is a person of these times as well as that time.
Director Matthew LaChiusa does a good job of moving his stage pieces around, keeping the performers playing multiple roles with distinctive looks, so you never confuse Insana’s Doc with his Sid Arbuck.
LaChiusa’s set works well by moving as little as possible and using the loft space above the stage as Holly’s bedroom, he can separate the scenes and not let the story lag.
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is worth seeing because the central characters are so human, weak and ineffective but human and that may be why the story carries down to our day.
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