Gertrude Stein: Each One as She May, Goodman Theatre

Goodman Theatre Studio, Chicago
February 3 – March 5, 1995

As Dr. Jefferson Campbell, trying to explain his feelings to Jacqueline Williams as Melanctha (PHOTO: Lia Lauren)

As Dr. Jefferson Campbell, trying to explain his feelings to Jacqueline Williams as Melanctha (PHOTO: Liz Lauren)

As Campbell, reading while Melanctha (Jacqueline Williams) looks on

As Campbell with Jacqueline Williams as Melanctha, observed in their “warm wandering” by Narrators Rick Worthy and Cheryl Lynn Bruce (PHOTO: Chicago Tribune)

Critical Response

“Whether one finds the play scintillating with subtle nuances of feeling or just plain tedious, there has to be wholehearted admiration for the cast. Jacqueline Williams and Johnny Lee Davenport as Melanctha and Campbell skate across the slippery pond of Stein’s linguistic mannerisms with marvelous dexterity. It’s easy to forgive the occasional fluffed line in the midst of such accomplished delivery of such a vast quantity of tongue-twisting dialogue.”
—Dan Zeff, Copley News Service (February 13, 1995)

“Melanctha Herbert (the radiant and breathtakingly powerful Jacqueline Williams) is a woman of intense passion and great emotional hunger, while Dr. Jefferson Campbell (Johnny Lee Davenport in splendid constricted form) lives in his head . . . . The two awaken each other’s hearts but can never truly be melded into one. . . .The fates of Melanctha and the doctor are spun out in a series of gorgeously orchestrated verbal battles.”
—Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times (February 14, 1995)

“Four actors—Jacqueline Williams as Melanctha, Johnny Lee Davenport as Dr. Campbell, and Rick Worthy and Cheryl Lynn Bruce as narrators—act out the romance in Stein’s words, while violinist Miriam Sturm and pianist Reginald Robinson provide lovely background music that is perfectly linked to the flow of the dialogue. . . It’s a special, highly polished piece of work, brought off with great reverence for Stein’s way with words and so carefully measured that the method behind her rhythms becomes apparent. . . . The splendid actors do not falter in either emotion or articulation in their interpretations.”—Richard Christiansen, The Chicago Tribune (February 14, 1995)

“Despite the daunting text, the performances are of the highest caliber. The actors rise admirably to the challenge of rendering the prose with truth and clarity, and indeed great humor. Circumnavigating the loquacious indulgences of the author, they are a strong and attractive ensemble that makes the evening fully worthwhile.”
—Dominic Hamilton Little, Nightlines Theatre (February 22, 1995)

“And the  actors are terrific, especially the charismatic Johnny Lee Davenport, playing against type as the prudish Campbell.”
—Adam Langer, Chicago Reader (February 25, 1995)

“Frank Galati’s 80-minute stage adaptation of the story, set to a ragtime beat, may not be for everyone. But you’ll rarely see or hear finer actors (Jacqueline Williams, Johnny Lee Davenport, Rick Worthy and Cheryl Lynn Bruce).”
Chicago Sun-Times, “To See or Not to See” (February 24, 1995)

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