Festering becomes a highly dramatic — and kinetic — art when it’s Isabelle Huppert who’s stewing. This most enduringly fearless of French film stars has taken on the title role of Florian Zeller’s “The Mother,” a woman for whom the empty nest is a toxic dump.
Her name is Anne, and she’ll be waiting for you, radiating waves of poisonous discontent, when you enter the Linda Gross Theater, where this compact, very French Freudian chamber work opened on Monday night in an Atlantic Theater Company production. There she is — chicly swathed in a gray turtleneck and black skirt, as slender and sharp as a knife blade — holding a matching, slim book that you know she’s not really reading.
The sofa she’s sitting on stretches the length of the stage, suggesting an unending series of days alone with a book, a drink, and rankling thoughts that grow louder and louder. She is waiting, waiting — like some Gallic Lady of Shalott — to be released from her captivity by the arrival of the man she loves most. That would be her 25-year-old son.
Throughout her long and celebrated film career, Ms. Huppert has shown a breathtaking willingness to travel to the outer limits of emotional extremes. Witness her Oscar-nominated performance as the vengeful rape victim in the Paul Verhoeven thriller “Elle.” Or her turn as a stalker with seriously skewed maternal instincts in the current “Greta.”
In “The Mother,” translated from the French by Christopher Hampton and directed by Trip Cullman, Ms. Huppert plays a different kind of dangerous woman, one who is more of a threat to herself than to anyone else. But since it is still Ms. Huppert we’re talking about, Anne’s interior demons assume the external ferocity of a kamikaze mission.
It is not a tidy performance. And it almost rips the seams out of Mr. Zeller’s carefully measured study of one woman’s disintegration. But there’s no denying that Ms. Huppert’s Anne is compulsively watchable, even as she drags you, squirming, clean out of your comfort zone.
In recent years, Mr. Zeller would appear to have claimed the mantle of Yasmina Reza (“Art,” “God of Carnage”) as the French theater’s most popular chronicler — and skewerer — of the bourgeoisie. Like Ms. Reza, he holds a magnifying glass to everyday middle-class stereotypes until they seem to splinter from sustained scrutiny.
His other works include “The Truth,” a fracturing take on the comedy of infidelity, and the Broadway-bound “The Height of the Storm,” starring Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce. Mr. Zeller is best known in New York for “The Father,” a portrait of a commanding old man succumbing to dementia, for which Frank Langella won a Tony Award for best actor in 2016.
“The Father” and “The Mother” are not related. But both plays present the world through their title characters’ warping perspectives. What you see is what they see, and any more objective reality flickers only vaguely on the margins of their vision.
Without that refracting gaze, “The Mother” would feel tediously familiar indeed. Anne belongs to a restless breed common to fiction and film of the 1960s and ’70s (“The Happy Ending,” “Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams”) — the embittered wife and mother who, in middle age, is deprived of her raison d’être when her children leave home. “I’ve been had, all the way down the line,” is how Anne sums up her married life.
With her husband of 25 years, Peter (an appropriately exasperated Chris Noth), Anne has two grown children, a son and a daughter. (This version appears to be set in New York, though Anne herself is French.) But it’s the son, Nicolas (the elegant, self-contained Justice Smith), whose absence she mourns so obsessively. Now living with a girlfriend, Nicolas never calls or visits.
Anne also suspects that Peter isn’t really attending all those late staff meetings that make him later for dinner, and she sure doesn’t buy his claim that he’s going to a weekend seminar in Buffalo when the play begins. She tells him so in very blunt language, in savage curses sandwiched between mechanical repetitions of wifely phrases: “How about you? How was your day?”
Though we hear the vicious insults, it’s not clear that Peter does. Mr. Zeller reprises the opening scene in a slightly different key, but with the same blurring of inner and outer worlds.
Then Nicolas shows up at the breakfast table the next morning, having had a fight with his girlfriend. But is he really there? If not, he’s lucky, since the wiles Anne deploys to keep her boy at her side are the stuff of Oedipal nightmares. (Her tools of persuasion include a tiny red dress, black stockings, very high heels and a slew of pharmaceuticals.)
And just wait until the girlfriend, Emily (Odessa Young), shows up, wearing a dress just like Anne’s. (Anita Yavich did the costumes.) Or is she Anne’s daughter? Or Peter’s mistress? Or Anne herself?
In the various wars of wills that follow, Anne is sometimes the victor, sometimes the victim, as Ms. Huppert fills the ever-expanding stage in a hallucinogenic blaze of activity. Anne preens, slithers, twirls, whirls and collapses, spilling pills and slopping drinks and emanating such desperate heat you expect the floor beneath her to turn to ash.
This is all quite different from “The Mother” I saw at the Tricycle Theater in London three years ago. Starring a cryptic Gina McKee, that chilling version was more subtle and claustrophobic.
Ms. Huppert’s approach is more openly volatile, and more viscerally wrenching. Her thick, English-mangling French accent comes to seem like a part of Anne’s frustrated struggle to keep her balance in a land where more than ever she feels like a foreigner. (She pronounces “Buffalo” as “Booofalo,” which turns it into a city too absurd to believe in.)
Instead of having the walls closing in on Anne, Mr. Cullman and his design team — which includes Mark Wendland (set), Ben Stanton (lights) and Fitz Patton (sound) — create the sense of a world opening up into unnavigable, borderless space. Given the participation of Ms. Huppert, this was probably a wise choice.
She is, above all, a free-range actress. Allowed the room to roam, she’ll take you scary places you didn’t know existed. You may not want to follow, but when a performance is this committed, you really don’t have a choice.B:
【阿】【良】【甚】【至】【理】【解】【了】。 【原】【来】【那】【些】【妖】【怪】，【是】【抱】【着】【这】【样】【的】【心】【情】，【才】【去】【往】【人】【间】【的】。 【听】【了】【他】【的】【话】，【少】【女】【阿】【眉】【双】【眸】【放】【光】，【是】【比】【他】【还】【要】【迫】【切】【的】【神】【情】，【忍】【不】【住】【坐】【直】【了】【身】【子】。 “【真】【的】【么】，【阿】【良】，【你】【也】【想】【去】【人】【间】【看】【一】【看】【的】【么】？【那】【太】【好】【了】，【咱】【们】【一】【起】【去】【吧】，【你】【知】【道】【么】，【也】【许】【再】【次】【穿】【越】【回】【去】，【我】【可】【以】【寻】【回】【我】【的】【记】【忆】【呢】，【到】【时】【我】【带】【你】【游】【历】【人】
【连】【反】【应】【没】【那】【么】【快】【的】【楚】【禾】【父】【亲】【也】【看】【出】【闺】【女】【的】【不】【对】【劲】，【有】【些】【底】【气】【不】【足】，【继】【续】【说】【道】，“【这】【些】【钱】【也】【不】【是】【马】【上】【就】【给】，【你】【什】【么】【时】【候】【有】【什】【么】【时】【候】【给】，【反】【正】【小】【旭】【现】【在】【也】【不】【着】【急】【结】【婚】。【可】【我】【和】【你】【奶】【奶】【的】【意】【思】【是】……【你】【还】【是】【尽】【量】【的】【先】【给】【王】【秀】【玲】【道】【歉】【后】，【解】【释】【清】【楚】【这】【件】【事】【的】【来】【龙】【去】【脉】，【争】【取】【让】【她】【俩】【早】【日】【和】【好】。” 【楚】【禾】【抬】【起】【头】，【那】【眼】【神】【有】【些】【可】【怕】今期高清跑狗玄机图【苏】【黎】【悠】【闲】【的】【在】【长】【安】【生】【活】【了】【几】【天】，【曹】【操】【每】【天】【忙】【完】，【都】【会】【来】【苏】【黎】【府】【邸】【坐】【坐】。 【也】【不】【谈】【什】【么】【正】【事】，【就】【是】【闲】【聊】【加】【送】【礼】【的】。 【好】【马】，【好】【枪】，【甚】【至】【是】【一】【些】【解】【闷】【的】【小】【玩】【意】。 【这】【一】【天】，【苏】【黎】【送】【走】【曹】【操】【笑】【了】【笑】。 “【苏】【二】，【你】【又】【打】【坏】【注】【意】【了】？” “【你】【难】【道】【没】【看】【出】【来】？【一】【连】【几】【天】，【我】【数】【次】【提】【出】【告】【辞】，【这】【个】【曹】【操】【都】【是】【想】【出】【各】【种】【办】【法】
【两】【年】【后】。 【锣】【鼓】【喧】【嚣】，【鞭】【炮】【齐】【鸣】。 【酒】【店】【内】，【热】【火】【朝】【天】，【三】【三】【两】【两】【的】【酒】【席】。 【一】【对】【夫】【妇】【在】【挨】【桌】【的】【敬】【酒】。 【女】【人】【甜】【蜜】【的】【依】【偎】【在】【男】【人】【的】【身】【边】，【男】【人】【目】【光】【越】【加】【的】【柔】【和】。 “【哎】【呦】，【瞧】【叶】【总】【这】【满】【眼】【的】【深】【情】【都】【快】【溢】【出】【来】【了】，【真】【是】【羡】【煞】【旁】【人】【啊】。”【一】【旁】【的】【男】【人】【打】【趣】【道】。 【叶】【故】【这】【才】【收】【回】【目】【光】，【笑】【骂】【道】：“【少】【在】【一】【旁】【说】【笑】，
【昨】【晚】【阮】【雪】【的】【朋】【友】【圈】【被】【苏】【秋】【白】【放】【到】【了】【群】【里】，【等】【慕】【珺】【辰】【早】【晨】【打】【开】【手】【机】【就】【看】【到】【几】【个】【人】【疯】【狂】【的】【在】【艾】【特】【他】。 【如】【愿】【以】【偿】【的】【慕】【四】【爷】【大】【手】【一】【挥】，【请】【客】【吃】【饭】。 【阮】【雪】【跟】【慕】【珺】【辰】【到】【场】【的】【时】【候】，【叶】【丹】、【裴】【歌】、【苏】【秋】【白】【都】【早】【早】【到】【了】，【显】【然】【在】【等】【他】【们】。 【想】【到】【刚】【才】【出】【办】【公】【室】【前】【男】【人】【将】【她】【按】【在】【门】【背】【狠】【狠】【问】【吻】【了】【五】【分】【钟】【才】【放】【开】，【而】【三】【位】【娱】【乐】【圈】【的】【大】
【时】【间】【如】【白】【驹】【过】【隙】，【现】【下】【已】【是】【夏】【历】1309【年】6【月】【中】【旬】，【距】【离】【上】【次】【去】【诚】【王】【府】【已】【经】【过】【了】【半】【个】【月】【了】。 【这】【段】【时】【间】【真】【是】【林】【画】【墨】【穿】【越】【夏】【泽】【最】【惬】【意】【的】【日】【子】。 【除】【了】【偶】【尔】【被】【皇】【后】【娘】【娘】【宣】【进】【宫】【里】【聆】【听】【教】【诲】，【别】【的】【倒】【是】【还】【好】。 【特】【权】【阶】【级】【到】【底】【好】【处】【多】【多】【呀】，【自】【从】【她】【成】【了】【太】【子】【妃】【后】，【她】【在】【府】【中】【完】【全】【受】【到】【了】【贵】【宾】【级】【待】【遇】。 【首】【先】【这】【伙】【食】【水】