THEATER REVIEW: Anne Undeland’s ‘Mr. Fullerton’ an intriguing study of Edith Wharton
There’re lots of delicious ingredients in “Mr. Fullerton,” but like a good cassoulet, it needs maturation.BY DAN DWYER
Edith Wharton’s got man trouble. Not just with alcoholic and philandering husband Teddy, who takes off from their winter quarters in Paris, but also with a socially and sexually wily reporter for The London Times, Morton Fullerton, whose seductive charms plunge Edith into a torrid three-year affair. That’s the premise of playwright Anne Undeland’s new play, “Mr. Fullerton,” being staged for the first time at Great Barrington Public Theater. Indeed, the younger lover (four years Edith’s junior) takes Edith places in bed she’s never been before. In a state of post-coital bliss, Edith queries, “Where did you learn to do that?” “Friends” demurs Fullerton. Friends, indeed, as back in London, Fullerton has a string of dalliances with men (and boys) that makes him subject to blackmail.
Onstage, the Pen Is Usually Duller Than the Sword
Plays about writers, including “Mr. Fullerton,” a new potboiler probing Edith Wharton’s love life, too often undermine the real brilliance of their subjects.
By Jesse GreenPublished July 28, 2021Updated July 30, 2021
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Writing is boring. I should know. I just spent a half-hour revising that first sentence.
Playwrights nevertheless like to write about writers, perhaps because of their shared tolerance for tedium. Yet beyond that, what is there really to say? Anything that fleshes out the person beneath the words tends to diminish the artistry; anything that sticks to the unfiltered words is dull.