University, January 11, 2008 [the performance I saw was a matinee on January 19, 2008]
Edward Albee’s new play, Me, Myself & I, is in some senses a return to his earliest work, more influenced by Beckett and what we used to call the absurdist theater than the several plays in the intervening years, which may have something to do with his recent return to his earliest work, The Zoo Story in writing its sequel Peter and Jerry of 2007.
The world premiere of the new play at the Berlind Theatre at Princeton University, a production directed by Emily Mann, confronts the audience during the first scene with an architectural perspective (the set is outlined with a rectangular of strings) of a bedroom, featuring only a double bed, inhabited by Mother (Tyne Daly) and her Dr. (the hilarious Brian Murray)—a man who for the past 28 years has replaced her missing husband (he has disappeared upon the announcement that he was the father of identical twins)—sleeping, dressed still in suit and shoes. With the sudden appearance of one of the twins, OTTO, we quickly discover the depths of her lunacy as her son and Dr. recount her reactions to the news of the twin births and her illogical logical actions of naming them both (they are, after all spitting images of each other) Otto—one whose name reads left to right, the other right to left, and one whose name is capitalized, the other all in lower case! The two dress alike, and although she perceives that one (the loud and evil OTTO) does not love her while the other otto (the softer spoken good otto) is a devoted son, even she cannot tell them apart! We later discover that she cannot remember which of her Ottos was born first; she has, she declares, lost the papers!.
New York, January 20, 2008