Tru (1992)

There are many devices the playwright of a one-man play can employ to communicate with their audience. Tru opens with its sole character talking on the phone before picking up a tape recorder to provide instructions to his biographer. Yet there is something deliciously appropriate in this incarnation of Truman Capote that he soon abandons such pretences and just addresses the audience outright. After all, as Capote informs us, “I like talk to myself. And about myself….so there!”

It is the eve of Christmas Eve, 1975. Three months earlier Esquire magazine published an excerpt from Capote’s unfinished novel ‘Answered Prayers’ and the resulting backlash from society friends, who recognised themselves within its pages, has resulted in him being atypically alone at this time of the year in his New York apartment. This ostracism finds Capote reflecting upon his life and work, trying to convince himself of the sacrifices an artist must make.

Much like the character he portrays, who would lament that instead of being famous for writing books he became famous for being famous, Robert Morse proves to be a most entertaining guest. Though he may chuckle at his own witticisms, perform little dances and raise his thumbs up in celebration, Morse allows the audience to peek behind Capote’s façade and bear witness to the pain that was never far from the surface.

Nevertheless, the audience is shocked when it eventually manifests itself. After this rash, destructive act, the play doesn’t so much end, as just wander off.

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Though set during Christmas 1975, Capote refers to the Jonestown Massacre, which occurred in 1978.

As expected, this stage play contains no scene recreations from the films Truman Capote wrote or appeared in. 

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