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Review by Aleks Sierz (April 8, 2004)
What is the price of celebrity and success? Dana is a New York artist who was once hot but now comes face to face with failure as her latest show bombs and her lover walks out. Already depressed, she attempts suicide and then finds herself in a psychiatric hospital. But when the insurance money runs out, how can she prevent the doctors from discharging her?
Rebecca Gilman's new play, her fourth at the Court, is typically wry and intelligent. She takes an issue - the commercialisation of art and sport - and shows how its pressures affect the psychology of a single individual.
Dana's personal crisis is clearly outlined - success in a highly competitive culture is always fragile. For every star, there are dozens of wannabes ready to build them up and tear them down.
In Dana's relationships with her agent and gallerist, Gilman attacks the power of the cultural intermediaries who decide public taste. And when in desperation Dana assumes a new identity, it enables her to finally speak her mind and tell the truth. In Gillian Anderson's outstanding performance, Dana starts off as tense and fragile and ends up radiant and feisty.
On Hildegard Bechtler's airy set, director Ian Rickson gives Dana's story a redemptive feel, helped by a cast which doubles up the roles - John Sharian as Dana's lover and fellow inmate, Kate Harper as her agent and a doctor, Nancy Crane as her gallerist and therapist and Demetri Goritsas as another inmate and rival artist. Gilman is not a gritty writer but this rather too well behaved play is both entertaining and thought provoking.