|(Dorothy Silver in "Wings." Photo by Kathy Sandham.)|
However, there are extenuating circumstances that make this production imperative, and this is the aforementioned, all-too-rare appearance of Dorothy Silver. When a cultured friend of mine confessed he had never experienced a Silver performance, I berated him by pointing out that here is an omission as grievous as living in Jerusalem and never having worshiped at the Wailing Wall. He was kidnapped, and by the end of the play's 90 minutes, like all earthly beings, he was overwhelmed by Silver's incandescent projection of humanity. England has its Redgrave, the past has its Tandy and we in Cleveland have Silver. All three women show that beauty goes beyond ivory complexions and the promise of spring. The magic of Silver's acting lies in what Lillian Hellman's autobiographical "Pentimento" suggests: traces of the hopeful young girl peaking out from the present-day wrinkled visage.
Another lagniappe of the production is the welcome return of Derdriu Ring as the therapist. Ring, like Maureen O'Hara, seems to encapsulate all of Ireland in her red-haired feistiness. Watching these two major forces of nature together, we yearn for the roles that call out for their talents: Ring in a long line of fierce O'Casey and nimble-tongued Shaw heroines; and Silver in comedies and tragedies ranging from Dolly Levi to Samuel Beckett. But to return to Bette Davis: Don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars.
Beck Center presents "Wings" through Nov. 7. For tickets, call 216-521-2540.