The Timing of a Day
The Promise

A Lonely Man's Habit

Jeremy Lawrence gives another spot-on performance as playwright Tennessee Williams in this ultimately disappointing solo show.

By New York City
Jeremy Lawrence in A Lonely Man's Habit
(© Joseph Weiman)
Jeremy Lawrence in A Lonely Man's Habit
(© Joseph Weiman)
Jeremy Lawrence's booming southern drawl resonates from the moment he saunters down the stairs of The Cell at the beginning of his ultimately disappointing one-man show, A Lonely Man's Habit, being presented as part of the See-Saw Solo Festival.

The show is culled from Tennessee Williams' plays and journals to create a late-life portrait of the brilliant playwright whose demons proved as powerful as his considerable talent. And while Lawrence gives yet another spot-on performance (having played Williams in many previous shows), there's not enough here to truly sustain an audience's interest for 75 minutes.

Here, Williams sneaks out of his bedroom, where his latest trick lies sleeping, and makes his way down to the living room where he writes down random thoughts at his desk, muses aloud about his life, reads random sections from his plays, and of course, drinks.

We get excerpts from A Streetcar Named Desire and Vieux Carre, as well as survivor stories of his own hardships. There are plenty of points where it's delightful to listen to the words, particularly when Lawrence recites a lively, dark limerick about a misguided man. But unlike a piece such as Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, where the title character simply sits at a desk listening to recordings of his own voice from previous years, A Lonely Man's Habit lacks a compelling dramatic drive.

Nonetheless, die-hard Williams fans -- especially those in the throes of celebrating the centennial of his birth -- will relish in the nostalgia of hearing their favorite lines brought to life by such a skilled interpreter.

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