‘Three Tall Women’ Shines

DogStar Presents One Dark Albee

<em>Three Tall Women</em>

Forest Mori

Three Tall Women

Presented by DogStar Theater Company. At Center Stage Theater, Sat., Sept. 8. Shows through Sept. 16.

Samuel Beckett gets all the credit for being the darkest playwright — fail, fail again, etc. — but compared to Edward Albee, Beckett’s a candy striper. In Three Tall Women, Albee demonstrates that when it comes to death and dying, he’s as unflinching as the ward’s oldest hand, and a good deal more expressive. In this fine production directed by Nita June Davanzo and starring three women of varying height — E. Bonnie Lewis, Lynn Robinson, and Leah Salinas — death is “as close as you are,” as Blanche DuBois says to Mitch, and the only consolation is “learning to accept the charity of the hard moments as they are doled out,” as John Ashbery puts it in “Soonest Mended.”

Act One offers the role of a lifetime to Bonnie Lewis, who tears into her portrayal of a cantankerous dying woman with evident relish. Here Albee shows that he has graduated from playing get the guest to a new game — malign the matriarch. Yet thanks to successful monologues all around in the second act, with one particularly satisfying run coming from Robinson in support of Mama’s decision to reject her son (Justin Davanzo), the sun still shines on this bare patch of ground, just well enough to throw a few lengthening shadows.