Michael-Anthony Nozzi does outstanding work as Truman Capote in Jay Presson Allen’s Tru. Presson’s one-actor play, on the other hand (or at least the 70-minute version of it now playing at Hollywood Fringe), is more than a bit of a downer.
Taking place on Christmas Eve 1975, Tru’s Truman is no longer the successful writer celebrated worldwide for Breakfast At Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, but a washed-up drunk now “famous for being famous.”
Since at least half-an-hour has been cut from Allen’s original two-acter, I’m not sure how much of “funny Tru” has been left on the cutting room floor. (The Broadway original apparently had Truman kicking up his heels to Louis Armstrong at one point.) Though not without its humorous moments and clever one-liners (“Poinsettias are the Robert Goulet of botany”), what remains is mostly drunk-and-drugged Capote at his most maudlin and self-pitying.
Not that the once acclaimed writer didn’t have reason to feel sorry for himself. A recently published excerpt from his tell-all roman à clef Answered Prayers had alienated him from celebrity gal pals Babe Paley and Slim Keith, a much younger lover had abandoned him after taking as much as he could take from his sugar daddy, and the once beautiful 20something was now a puffy, bloated, 51-year-old virtual has-been.
Nozzi’s uncanny recreation of Capote’s trademark vocal and physical mannerisms is so spot-on, you may find yourself forgetting that it’s not Tru himself on the Lounge Theatre stage, and with the role’s Tony-and-Emmy-winning originator Robert Morse directing, this Fringe offering is in expert hands.
Capote’s New York flat is rendered with enough detail to make it almost worthy of a regular Chromolume Theatre run, and other design elements are more than adequate.
Not having seen a full-length Tru, I can’t say how much Presson’s script suffers from its radical trim here.
Ultimately, this Tru works better as an acting vehicle for its accomplished star than it does as a fully-realized portrait of a man in all his many facets, both dark and light.
June 11, 2105