Pat Nesbit is the sort of performer whose work finds its way to the foreground even if she's part of an ensemble, as she was in 1998's The Last Night of Ballyhoo at the Coconut Grove Playhouse. This past season South Florida audiences were lucky to see her at the Caldwell Theatre Company as one of two players in Donald Margulies' Collected Stories, a smaller, more intimate drama that showed off her style as a miniaturist. Her character, Ruth, is a middle-age college professor whose star is fading just as that of her protégé, Lisa, is on the rise. The play is not exactly subtle in the ways it deals with issues of artistic appropriation. Nesbit, on the other hand, is a master of small moments. In this performance, as usual, her brilliance shone through in her line readings, the precision of her inflections, the way her character, becoming increasingly ill, seemed to fade away in front of our eyes. For these reasons discerning theatergoers only want to see more of her.
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