By Tony Kushner, Directed by Oskar Eustis

Having rocked American theatre with his epic Angels in America, swept the recent Emmy Awards and up-ended musical theatre with the innovative Caroline, or Change, Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winner Tony Kushner takes on the Bush Administration with this biting political satire. After reading Dostoevsky to the ghosts of Iraqi children, First Lady Laura Bush takes on Kushner himself and the liberal agenda

What: Red, White & New BRAND:NEW Fall Festival of New Works 2004 - Reading of "Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy" a new play by Tony Kushner 

Where: Hartford Stage -  50 Church St, Hartford, CT

When: Monday evening, October 25, 2004

Report by KJ
Thanks! KJ for sharing the report!

Monday night at the Hartford Stage Kate joined Betty Buckley and Molly Ringwald in a reading of Tony Kushner’s new ‘work in progress’ “Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy”

Totally Kate has posted a report by Carole LaPlante which gives you a run down on the setting and characters.

Beside the wit and wisdom of this timely political satire, we were treated to wonderful performances by an incredibly talented group of ladies.

Betty Buckley who played Laura Bush in the first act and the playwrite himself in the second, gave an energetic and emotional performance portraying both the somewhat unnerved first lady and the sharp tongued playwrite with equal ease.

Molly Ringwald had very little to do in act one as the narrator, mostly sitting quietly off to the side. Act two however, which was rewritten on Monday so that Molly could play herself, found her alive and vibrant as she recounted her ‘dream’; a biting, sometimes witty, almost spooky, tale of President Bush’s speech before the United Nations.

And then there was Kate, without whom I would sadly have missed this entire performance. In act one Kate plays a sarcastic, slightly condescending angel, quietly pushing Betty’s Laura to attempt a justification of her husbands politics to the children of Iraq who have died horrible deaths as a result of his actions. With few words, occasional gestures and subtle but amazing facial expressions, which were slightly less then angelic, Kate maneuvered ‘Laura’ to unnerving revelations about both the Bush’s personal and political life.

Kate’s angel and Betty’s Laura played so well together that I found myself hard put to imagine Kate taking on the role of Laura in the second act. I should not have worried. In act two Kate gives a very different view of Laura Bush. Kate’s Laura is stronger, more composed, quick to retort and defend her husband and his administration.

As an extra bonus, Kate, Betty and Molly did a reading of Brundibar, a Czech opera retold by Tony Kushner as a picture book. The story behind this book can be found here.

The evenings performance was rounded out by discussion of the reading in which Kate and Betty (unfortunately Molly had to leave) were joined by Michael Wilson (Hartford Stage’s artistic director) and Oskar Eustis (the director) and the audience was invited to question and comment.

I attended the performance with my younger daughter and happened to meet up with Carol LePlante and two of her friends at the theater. After this very enjoyable evening, we were lucky enough to get a few minutes to speak with Kate. Of course the highlight of my evening! As always Kate was warm and gracious, taking the time to speak to each of us. Kate shook my daughter's  hand drawing her closer and telling her how pretty she was—Yep she is now a confirmed Kate fan. All the way home I heard how wonderful, beautiful and completely captivating Kate is—like I didn’t know that!

For those of you wondering, we did ask and Kate assured us that “Tim is doing well and will be just fine”.