After extending its run (and that announced before a performance had even played), Lynn Redgrave's The Mandrake Root closes at Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre March 18. The world-premiere drama of dark family secrets revealed began performances Jan. 31. Former Intiman Theatre artistic director Warner Shook (The Kentucky Cycle) directs.
In Mandrake Root, Redgrave becomes Rose Randall, the matriarch of a great family, as she observes her own daughter Sally and Sally's teenaged daughter Kate. Around Rose, Redgrave has crafted a story of betrayal, sex and crippling family errors. The character she plays, the actress-playwright admits, is much based on her mother, the British actress Rachel Kempson. (The New York Post reported that Lynn and sister Vanessa apparently clashed over doing such an unhappily autobiographical piece.)
Mandrake Root was originally to have premiered at Seattle's Intiman Theatre in Sept. 2000 but was canceled because of Redgrave's schedule.
One of five generations of actors in the Redgrave family, Lynn Redgrave has already visited her family on stage with her Tony-nominated one woman show, Shakespeare for My Father. Other theatre work has included the Tony-nominated Mrs. Warren's Profession, Black Comedy, Aren't We All and Moon Over Buffalo. She was recently nominated for an Academy Award for "Gods and Monsters," her second such honor after being tapped for playing the title role in "Georgy Girl."
Joining Redgrave are Mark Chamberlin (Alistair), Angela Goethals (Kate/Young Man), Jeane Paulsen (Priest/Sophie/Sister Felicity/Nurse/Ruby), Pippa Pearthree (Sally), Henry Stram (Robert) and, alternating as Child Sally, Francesca Smith and Miranda Valerio. The design team features Michael Olich (sets), Frances Kenny (costumes), Rui Rita (lights) and Dan Moses Schreier (composer/sound). Kevin E. Thompson is the stage manager.
Tickets are $45-$15. For reservations, call (203) 787-4282.The Long Wharf Theatre is on the web at http://www.longwharf.org.