Dupe

Alex Austin's melodrama centers on a photography collector determined to barter possession of a priceless photograph in exchange for a day — or a night — with a famous celebrity. In a coffeehouse, the normally timid Leonard (Gerard Marzilli) boldly approaches a woman who closely resembles a celebrated singer-songwriter named Carol Fitch (Gina Yates). The stranger insists she's someone else, but Leonard doggedly persists. Wanting to pique her interest, he tells her about the $5 million photo he has acquired; commissioned in the 1930s by Vogue, its model was a beautiful Folies Bergère dancer named June (Danielle Van Beest, alternating with Lonni Silverman), whose notebooks Leonard also happens to have. As fascinated by the dead woman as he is with his reluctant companion, he recounts her decades-old tale, a secondary dramatic thread played out in intermittent flashbacks and culminating in her rape by a desperate admirer. The play's main tension turns on the is-she-or-isn't-she issue of his companion's identity, and whether she will make Leonard a happy man or wrest the photo from him in a craftier way. More interesting as a portrayal of idol obsession than a drama, the piece stumbles on its convoluted plot twists. Though he could use more nuance, Marzilli turns in a satisfactory performance under Bill Garrett's direction. But neither Yates nor the markedly lovely Van Beest exhibit much range. Designer David Goldstein's artfully composed set is a major plus. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Starts: June 27. Continues through July 19, 2008


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