The Portable Dorothy Parker

Annie Lux
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

The Portable Dorothy Parker

It’s 1943 in a New York apartment where Dorothy Parker is selecting items for a Viking Press portable edition of her work. The play imagines Dorothy talking, as she sifts through her material, to a woman we never see that they have sent over to help.

Each item she places in one of her piles is accompanied by an anecdote about its context, perhaps including references to her husband of the time, Alan Campbell, along with her friends and colleagues, such as Robert Benchley and Hemingway. We hear of her creating with Lillian Hellman the Screenwriters Guild.

Almost everything she says is sharply witty, and you could easily watch this performance simply for the entertaining one-liners. But we also get to hear about more difficult aspects of her life such as her alcoholism.

On the phone, she tells someone “one more drink and I’ll be under the host.” Later, she mentions that, “I’ve been too fucking busy or vice versa.” She explains to the imagined woman companion that “I never learned to drink until it became a felony.”

There are also references to her attempts at suicide, though speaking about her future death, she says, “when my time comes, I want to lie in a shroud of unpaid bills.”

Margot Avery as Dorothy Parker gives a riveting, hilarious performance which is entirely believable and incredibly entertaining.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna

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