A few days ago I had the pleasure of enjoying a cultural night out with some of my fellow bloggers. A past theatre minor, I love the perk of living in NYC and getting to Broadway is a real treat since I can't get there as often as I would like. For this special night, I had the chance to see The Heiress, a fascinating play written by Ruth & Augustus Goetz and Directed by Moses Kaufman. I was really excited to see Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain as Catherine Sloper; however she wasn't in the show that evening. While I was disappointed at first that quickly changed when her understudy, Mairin Lee, was captivating as the shy and withdrawn Catherine as she navigates the terrain of love and regret, desire and duty, a chance for happiness, burden of fortune and the complexity of the Sloper household.
I didn't know much about the production, so I was excited to enter the world of New York City in the 1800s. Based on the book Washington Square by Henry James, I was struck by the rich dialogue and its bitter undertones of dysfunctionality, sadness, and emotional distance. This is portrayed clearly through the relationship of Catherine and her father (David Strathairn), a prominent New York doctor. A bit of light comes into Catherine's life in the form of Morris Townsend, a passionate young suitor (Dan Stevens) whom her father believes does not have the best of intentions. This begins with Catherine as young and hopeful, only to learn the reality of how her own heartbroken father feels about her.
The range of emotions was intense, and had me crying during a few parts. It was shocking to hear the truth from her father, and then see the complexity of love and greed from Morris. The real tragedy was that they were never able to see eye-to-eye when the essentially both wanted a chance at happiness. Through the poignant and very honest dialogue, the audience sees the chances of Catherine until the shocking ending that I am still thinking about.
Although the story took place in the 1800s, I was pulled into the world of The Heiress and found myself on the edge of my seat following along with its poignant dialogue, moving actors, and an incredible story that truly made for quite the memorable night out.
I was not paid for this post. I was provided with a complimentary ticket from Mama Drama.