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I saw a new play by David Hare yesterday--'The Vertical Hour'. I have been a fan of his ever since I saw 'Via Dolorosa' and was looking forward to seeing his latest work. Supposedly, it was about opposing views of Iraq, but like that place itself, the play became a muddle of words, words, words (apologies to Eliza). It was a five character play and it took most of a long Act 1 just to delineate the characters. I was surprised to read in the Playbill that Julianne Moore had considerable stage appearances. Most of the play was set on a fairly bare stage, which absorbed most of her voice; and there was a bit of grumbling on the way out of the theater that a good part of her dialogue was not heard.--and she had many long tedious diatribes. There were two scenes in a confined office setting, and she fared much better. The playwright had her going full force in a very wordy play and I missed seeing the nuanced actress I admire.

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Thank you for the review, atm711. I've never seen a live production of one of Hare's plays, but they make fine reading.

Elia Kazan said that as a rule he didn’t like working with movie stars in the theatre because they were either unschooled in voice projection or unpracticed in it. (He was reluctant to cast Deborah Kerr in ‘Tea and Sympathy’ for that reason, but she was excellent as it turned out.) The reviews of Julia Roberts in her recent Broadway debut also indicated that she had trouble making herself heard. If this role is as long and taxing as it sounds, that may be a factor as well. It’s a different set of skills. Also, Moore has theatre experience, but it’s not her basic training – she started out in the soaps.

I like her a lot, too, even in movies I don’t much care for. She hasn’t had much luck lately (and she’s in her forties, that dangerous time for female movie stars). Maybe she’ll improve as the run continues. How was Bill Nighy, atm711?

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It’s a different set of skills. Also, Moore has theatre experience, but it’s not her basic training – she started out in the soaps.

I don't think that's completely true. I think more than anything, it's been a while since Ms. Moore has done significant stage work. I think her original training is in theatre. Scanning her bio, it looks like she received her BFA in Drama from Boston University before going to off-Broadway. Like more New York theatre actors, I would guess she supported herself in the early years with the soaps.

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Deborah Kerr originally trained as a ballet dancer, appearing at Sadler Well's in 1938.

Thanks -- I didn't know that!

papeetepatrick writes:

I like Julianne Moore's work too, and have thought she was brilliant in a number of things, esp. 'Boogie Nights' and 'Far from Heaven.'

She was especially good in 'Safe,' IMO, and she was an interesting contrast to Jodie Foster as Clarice in 'Hannibal.'

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