Listen to Richard Chamberlain talk about some of the plays
he performed in and, precisely, about the experience
of directing " The Shadow Box".
Richard Chamberlain during the press conference
at which he presented the play to the media.
Richard Chamberlain dons the beard he needed
to grow to portray John Blackthorne in "Shogun", a series
that started filming shortly after the play.
The Shadow Box
The Shadow Box is by no means an amusing comedy or musical,
but if you're in the market for an evening of intense, first-rate drama,
drop by Boston's Charles Playhouse one of these nights.
Richard Chamberlain's production of Michael Cristofer's Pulitzer prize
winning play, starring Betsy Palmer and Frank Converse, opened in
Boston last week. Basically, the story deals with three terminally ill
people and how the awareness of their impending deaths affects them and
people near them. A straight-laced daughter (played by Alexandria Borrie)
wants her aged mother (Elizabeth Flemming) to die, a fiftyish man
(David Sabin) has a wife who can't accept his death and a son who
doesn't know about it, and a philosophical man's (Converse) impending
death affects both his former wife (Ms. Palmer) and his homosexual
lover (Tony Blake).
The play deals with the subject of death in an amazing current,
straight-forward way, which immerses the audience into a sea of emotion.
There were comic moments in The Shadow Box but they were always
followed by a sharp return to the play's intense mood. This was heightened
by the intimacy of the Charles Playhouse. The old woman, for instance,
sings a song to her dismayed daughter, ( "This is number six and his hands
are on my tits".) As soon as the audience's laughter fades, she screams
out in a very real cry of pain. The audience is always reminded that
The Shadow Box is serious business. Elizabeth Flemming gave an
outstanding performance in her part as the old woman, as she professionally
handled a role easy to overplay. Alexandra Borrie's facial expressions
appeared a bit unnatural and Tony Blake was stiff at times, but overall
the cast was excellent. Betsy Palmer and Frank Converse lead the
cast well , and together with Chamberlain's skilled direction,
The Shadow Box is without question one of Boston's evening highlights.
© Karen Pelczarky for Thursday VooDoo
Richard Chamberlain with young actor Rob Derosa