It's the season of the girls! Women writers are falling out of the woodwork. OK – they are all white, but still….
Theresa Rebeck joins Kate Fodor and Lucy Thurber, stepping up to the plate in her new play Mauritius. Rebeck's writing is a hook in itself. She zips along with open wings and gathers the pieces of her stories at astonishing speed. This must be what it was like to travel in the first motor cars. Tooting along through the elements, focused not only on where you were going but on what you were passing through. Mauritius is not a smooth, even ride, and it left more than one loose end dangling. But Rebeck knows where she is going, and it is that focused ride which engages you.
It's the story of a whole bunch of people fighting over two stamps. The very idea makes no sense to me. I never understood people who collect things. If you can't wear it, eat it, hang it on the wall, or otherwise make use of it, what the heck is it doing in your home? But some people are passionate, and the most passionate of all in this case is F. Murray Abraham, who is willing to fork over a ton of cash for a stamp he will never be able to admit owning. He is brittle and cutthroat and makes you glad you are not on the other end of the negotiation.
On the other end is Allison Pill, giving another of her cardboard performances. It's not an easy part, and it's to be played by a young woman (what a surprise), but it takes Pill awhile to get all her pistons in motion so that the dialogue comes out as something more than reading a manual on how to take apart, say, a stove cover.
Her stepsister, played by Katie Finneran, is the one to watch, and really the center of this play. Steady in her belief that the stamps belong to her because she her grandfather's blood relative, she breezes past the fact that she was not the caregiver to their mother during her long illness. She flattens Pill's supplications for compassion and honor and claims the stamps as her own, period. Her clarity sends a ice pick through Pill's heart and will come within inches of your own. It is a chilling, spectacular performance.