Best Actress (2006)

Lauren Feldman in A Bad Friend

Memory brings its own surprises. Lauren Feldman's performance as the central character of A Bad Friend seemed at first just one fine jewel among many in a solid ensemble generously directed by the formidable Joseph Adler at GableStage. Jules Feiffer's play, not perfect but perfectly timed, goes beyond Old Left nostalgia to warn us all about the dangers of letting today's radical right play on people's fears and hatreds, redefining patriotism as blind evangelical zeal. The message is wise, even necessary, as we live through the most corrupt presidency since Richard Nixon's. For reasons both dramatic and political, Adler's GableStage did a brave and lovely thing in giving this play its local premiere. But it is the ineffably melancholy image of the delicate Feldman as Rose, a vulnerable young girl caught in the maelstrom of her family's and her country's ideological turmoil, that is still resounding long after the curtain's fall. To come on not particularly strong and yet make an indelible impression -- that is a gift.


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