SPALDING GRAY: STORIES LEFT TO TELL

Concept by Kathleen Russo
Directed by Lucy Sexton

Minetta Lane Theater, NYC

Sets by David Korins
Costumes by Michael Krass
Original Music and Sound by Fitz Patton
Projections by Leah Gelpe

Photos by Rod Lemmond

“Five minutes into “Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell,” the disarming show that opened last night at the Minetta Lane Theater, I stopped gritting my teeth and decided that a show about Spalding Gray without Spalding Gray might just work after all. As would surely be the case with most fans of Mr. Gray, the compellingly self-centered monologuist who died at 62 in 2004, I needed convincing.

The lone star of such peerless exercises in public introspection as “Swimming to Cambodia” and “Monster in a Box,” Mr. Gray was the ultimate stand-up solipsist. He made it clear that his work was less about using his personality as a prism to refract the world than using the world to refract his personality. 

His artfully awkward acting style was a shrewd distillation of that personality, and it defies easy imitation. Yet by the end of “Stories Left to Tell,” in which different performers read from Mr. Gray’s monologues and journals, I was hearing its author’s voice as if he were sitting beside me. It seems I had underestimated Mr. Gray as a dramatist. Though it would be preferable, of course, to have him with us, his writing turns out to have a cohesive theatrical life of its own.

David Korins’s set effectively evokes the sheer volume of Mr. Gray’s writing, while Ben Stanton’s lighting subtly suggests an ineradicable melancholy.

Ben Brantley, New York Times

link to review