By the closing curtain, Lohan had proved she could hold her
own with two top-notch male actors. Richard Schiff, best known
as Toby Ziegler from "The West Wing", played producer Bobby
Gould. His buddy Charlie Fox was played by Nigel Lindsay, who
had the title role in the West End staging of "Shrek the
The trio, under director Lindsay Posner at the Playhouse
Theatre, managed to give a new edge to the cutting humor in
Mamet's 1988 play.
The story centers on two self-professed movie business "whores,"
who are agreed on a big deal they know is going to make them
rich. But then temporary secretary Karen, played by Lohan, turns
their lives upside down.
A few of Lohan's lines brought knowing laughs from the audience,
including: "I know what it is to be bad, I've been bad."
Lohan, 28, was once one of Hollywood's most sought-after young
actresses, with starring roles in movies such as 1998's "The
Parent Trap" and 2004's "Mean Girls." Of late, she has become
better known for going in and out of rehab and court after
arrests for offenses such as reckless driving and drug
During previews of "Speed-the-Plow", critics who normally wait
for opening night to review a performance reported Lohan flubbed
some of her lines and needed prompting from offstage.
For the opening, she appeared better rehearsed. After an
offstage voice prompted her with a line near the start of the
second act of the 85-minute show, she overcame a breathless
delivery and by the end seemed at ease.
At the curtain call, she smiled broadly and popped a bottle of
fake champagne, showering the audience in the front row seats
with glittering colored paper.
"I thought Lindsay portrayed her character well, though she
forgot a couple of lines... but she's a star, she's still a
star," said Chloe Emirali, 25, a New Zealander who lives in
Milton Keynes, England and is a self professed Lohan fan.
Other stage works by Mamet, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American
playwright and screenwriter, include "Glengarry Glen Ross" and
"American Buffalo." He was nominated for Oscars for his
screenplays for "Wag the Dog" and "The Verdict".
Lohan's part was played by Madonna in the original 1988
production, and by fellow Hollywood actress Alicia Silverstone
in a 2007 revival in Los Angeles.
[to top of second column]
But despite the leading ladies who've inhabited the role, the
evening belongs to Charlie Fox and Bob Gould, two Hollywood types
whose business dealings, and suggested mutual backstabbings, go way
The two are working together on a movie pitch starring an actor they
hope to filch from a rival studio. The film could make them a pile
of money, or as one of them puts it, "the operative concept is lots
and lots" of loot.
Lohan has the fewest lines, but she is the enigmatic femme fatale at
the center of the action who takes an interest in an apocalyptic
book called "The Bridge" which Gould has in the office for the
purpose of a courtesy read but which he dismisses as the work of "an
Eastern sissy writer".
He allows her to read the book and asks her to report back to him
that night at his apartment, where he hopes to seduce her. She turns
the tables on him in a plot twist that winds up with him supporting
making "The Bridge" into a movie, much to the dismay of sidekick Fox
who sees his riches slipping away.
One of the great moments in the third act is Fox's double take when
he realizes that Gould has succumbed to the secretary's
manipulations, to make the movie about "The Bridge" with her as a
partner. His next best moment is when he denounces her as a witch.
It would be unfair to give away more of the plot, but in some ways
the play is dated, particularly its dissing of the "sissy" writer's
apocalyptic novel. Since the play was written, dystopian/apocalyptic
films like "the Hunger Games" have become all the rage.
What remains is Mamet's sharp, cutting dialogue and his fiendishly
dark take on Hollywood. If anything, that has become the prevailing
view of how things go there, in no small part due to Mamet's
screenplay for "Wag the Dog", Robert Altman's "The Player" and the
new David Cronenberg look at the seamy side of Hollywood in "Maps to
(Michael Roddy is the arts and entertainment editor for Reuters in
Europe. The views expressed are his own.)
(Editing by David Gregorio)
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