Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
“When three-time Pulitzer-winning playwright Edward Albee unveils a new work, attention must be paid,” said Frank Scheck in The Hollywood Reporter. Albee earned his place in the American theatrical canon with plays like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, all created in his signature absurdist style. His newest one concerns a pair of dysfunctional 28-year-old identical twins—christened “OTTO” and “otto”—and their relationship with their “neurotic, self-absorbed mother.” Through a series of “willfully obscure” plot points and “linguistic tangents,” Albee suggests that our identities are often much less stable than we think. Yet though Albee tries hard to make this collection of “head-scratching moments” cohere, director Emily Mann’s production “lacks the emotional and comic resonance” we expect from the playwright.
“Even inherently fine plays written by world-class dramatists” can suffer from a bad production, said Ben Brantley in The New York Times. That’s what Albee receives here. At 82, he still has a sharp mind and a love for “semantic acrobatics, philosophical puzzles, and theater itself.” Characters don’t come sharper or stranger than Zachary Booth’s OTTO, who in the competition for Mother’s affection makes the absurd declaration that his lowercase brother “doesn’t exist.” Still, not every cast can keep up with the complexity of Albee’s texts, and here “what should proceed as a skipping verbal vaudeville with sinister underpinnings” simply comes off as clumsy.
Sorry, but the blame for this bomb belongs solely to Albee, said Elisabeth Vincentelli in the New York Post. As the twins, Booth and Preston Sadleir have an evident rapport with Elizabeth Ashley’s domineering mother. But Albee gives them little to work with, other than warmed-over repetitions of absurdist gimmicks from previous plays. The only way you’ll find Me, Myself & I even remotely interesting “is if you haven’t been to the theater since 1945.”
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.