Cousin Bette | Archive | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
Loading...

Cousin Bette 

Friday, Feb 5 2010
Comments
Drawn from Balzac’s La Comèdie humaine, playwright Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation revolves around a cunning woman’s campaign to avenge herself on the rich relatives who have callously dismissed her as shabby and unimportant. Sheltered, and fed with scraps of food off her pretty cousin’s plate, poor-relation Bette Fischer (Nike Doukas) grows up nurturing her hate, eventually evolving into a plain-faced spinster who is everybody’s confidante but nobody’s friend. Brilliantly Machiavellian, Bette’s fastidious plot to destroy the family involves arranging a liaison between her attractive neighbor and abused wife, Valerie (Jen Dede), and Hector (John Prosky), the lecherous and profligate husband of her virtuous cousin, Adeline (Emily Chase ). Bette also acquires wealth (and thus power) by promoting the work of a young Polish sculptor, Steinbock (Daniel Bess), with whom she’s fallen in love — unfortunately for her, since he ends up betrothed to Adeline’s daughter, Hortense (Kellie Matteson). Directed by Jeanie Hackett, the production purposefully underscores the source material’s melodramatic elements — for example, heightening the narrative’s key points with the melancholy refrains of Chopin. At least one key performance is overladen with shtick, and some fine-tuning of others is in order. Still, Doukas is terrific, delivering a consummate performance that arouses, for her long-suffering deceitful character, pity, disdain — and admiration. Alongside the story’s bathos is its salient reminder of what cruelty, indifference and injustice can do to the human spirit. Deaf West Theatre, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Thurs.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru March 21. (818) 506-5436.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Starts: Feb. 6. Continues through March 28, 2010
click to enlarge 4606195.t.jpg

Related Stories

  • A Play Set When Interracial Marriage Was Illegal (GO!)

    Some plays simmer, and others scorch. Originally penned by Alice Childress in 1966 but unproduced until 1972, Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black & White is decidedly the latter. This rarely produced revival delivers a blistering indictment of the South’s anti-miscegenation laws against the backdrop of a deeply moving...
  • Theater Awards Winners

    The 2014 L.A. Weekly Theater Awards took place at Exchange L.A. this evening. Winners are below, in bold. PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Sacred Fools Theater Company Our Class, Son of Semele Ensemble at Atwater Village Theatre Peter Pan: The Boy Who Hated Mothers, Blank Theatre...
  • L.A. Weekly Theater Awards 2014: The Nominees 2

    Zombie Joe's Underground will host the 35th annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards on April 7 at Exchange LA. The awards honor what the paper's committee of critics have deemed the best work performed in theaters of 99 seats or less in the 2013 calendar year. This year's Queen of the Angels Award, honoring...
  • Antaeus Company Casts Two Actors in Each Role. Is That a Good Thing?

    If you attend a production presented by the Antaeus Company in North Hollywood, it's hard to be sure which performers you'll be seeing. Antaeus specializes in large-ensemble classics. And yet the company doesn't use understudies — theater's traditional insurance policy for absent actors. Rather, at Antaeus, in a profoundly different...
  • Stage Raw: Rebellion at Antaeus Company

    COMPREHENSIVE THEATER LISTINGS (after the jump) NEW THEATER REVIEWSStage FEATURE on Merry Wives of Windsor in Topanga Canyon and Griffith Park Tim Dietlein 1776 Glendale Centre Theatre's well-reviewed prodction of 1776 continues this weekend.   Rebellion at Antaeus: Back Stage has reported on the ousting of long-term Antaeus Company artistic...

Related Content

Now Trending