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Off-Broadway, in Neil LaBute's 'Bash'

Flockhart 'stages' a comeback

June 29, 1999
Web posted at: 4:33 p.m. EDT (2033 GMT)

From Cynthia Tornquist
CNN Entertainment News Correspondent

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Before the television show "Ally McBeal" made a household name of Calista Flockhart, the actress was trying to making a name for herself on Broadway in Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" and Anton Chekhov's "The Three Sisters."

Well, she's at it again. Flockhart is using her summer hiatus from the series to return to the New York off-Broadway stage.

"Being back in New York is reviving and exciting," she says, "so I think I'll be ready to go back to 'Ally.' Hopefully I won't be too tired."

Flockhart opened June 24 in "Bash," which comprises three one-act plays written by Neil LaBute. He's written and directed such controversial films as "The Company of Men" (1997) and "Your Friends and Neighbors" (1998). Both films are about human cruelty. The play is no different.

Living among us

In the first piece, a monologue called "Medea Redux," Flockhart plays a 13-year-old girl who's seduced by her junior high school teacher and becomes pregnant. As the "Medea" part of the title suggests, she kills the child.

In "Bash," Flockhart plays a teen-ager who has a relationship with her teacher

"Just the whole idea of what drives people to violence and if we know about it maybe we can prevent it," Flockhart says. "It's interesting. And these people live among us."

In the second monologue, Ron Eldard plays a salesman who hates the woman who works with him.

The final piece casts Paul Rudd and Flockhart as college sweethearts. During a trip to New York, Rudd's character beats a gay man in the Central Park.

"It's a pretty despicable character," Rudd says of the man he plays. "So to try to get the audience on your side before the actual brutality sets in was a bit of a challenge."

One of the challenges for Calista Flockhart and her co-stars is memorizing LaBute's script. Her show-opening monologue runs 35 minutes. She delivers it without missing a beat.

"She comes from the theater, so she has tons of experience," says Joe Mantello, the show's director. "She has intelligence and the audience has an immediate sympathy for her."

Flockhart's work onstage in "Bash" can be seen at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre on West 42nd Street in New York, through July 24.

Flockhart in her element: slap-happy with the Bard
May 13, 1999
Flockhart, 'Today' can't overcome weighty issue
April 30, 1999
TV's latest trend: Neurotic women?
October 28, 1998
'Ally McBeal' wins best comedy from grassroots group
August 6, 1998

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