‘Collected Stories’ written by Donald Marguilies, who won a Pultizer for his play ‘Dinner With Friends’ is a story about friendship, ambition and betrayal. In the end, it asks the question…Who really owns the rights to your life story?
The play is about two women…Ruth Steiner (April Lang) an esteemed author/professor/mentor and her student, aspiring novelist, Lisa Morrison (Natalie Sutherland).
Ruth and April start out their relationship as student and teacher. Eventually, they become very good friends and collegues.
It’s obvious from the start that Lisa worships the ground Ruth walks on. She becomes her assistant, doing anything and everything to win over this crusty older woman.
Ruth, is a woman who likes things done her way, letting it be known, every chance she gets that…her way is the right way. She freely gives Lisa her advice and her opinions, expecting her young student to obey her without question. And for a time, Lisa does.
Of course that soon changes, when Lisa gets a story published. Ruth of course is proud of her protege, but it’s obvious, she’s also…slightly envious.
Lisa on the other hand should be flying high…The literary world is expecting great things from this new writer and can’t wait for her next epic.
Only problem is…Lisa is a blank. She announces to Ruth that she has no more stories inside of her. Don’t forget, Lisa is a grad student and really hasn’t done much living.
Ruth, on the other hand has tons of stories, including…one that she shares with Lisa. It’s a story about the doomed love affair Ruth had when she was a student, with poet, Delmoe Schwartz, who died from alcoholism in 1966.
Ruth not only tells Lisa every detail about this painful time in her life, but makes it absolutely clear that she has no interest in ever writing about it.
So what does Lisa, Ruth’s bbf do? She steals it and writes a novel. That’s right…Lisa takes Ruth’s story and makes it her own.
For Ruth…this is the ultimate betrayal. To make matters worse, Lisa doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong.
‘Collected Stories’ written in 1999 was a Pultizer finalist and won an Ovation award. The play had an extended sold-out run at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City.
This is a play about how human beings and how since the beginning of time, we’ve tried to engage with one another by…telling stories…
We do this to connect…We share our lives with friends, family or at times, with a group at strangers. We take a chance of getting hurt everytime we let someone in….But what’s our alternative?…Live a life without trust?
‘Collected Stories’ is a two character play, but you’d never know it. The two talented actresses fill up every inch of the stage with their multi layered performances, making this a must see for anyone who loves…good writing, a good story, and fine acting.
The play, directed by Terri Hanauer and produced by Academy Award nominee, Diane Ladd opened on September 8th at The Odyssey Theatre, 2055 South Sepulveda Blvd, LA 90025 and runs Thursday to Saturday 8pm, Sundays 3pm through October 14, 2012.
Tickets are $20-$30. For reservations, call 310-477-2055 or go to www.odysseytheatre.com/collectedstories.