Part of the problem also is that minor Capote characters — like neighbor Madame Sapphia Spanella, a tiny sketch in an already short novel — have been given life, but there's not enough flesh on the bone. There are more than a dozen actors swirling around a show that needs to feel smaller.
Greenberg, who wrote the award-winning "Take Me Out," seems always to want to remind us that we're at the end of World War II, whether it's someone mentioning Mussolini — during a dance segment, no less — or having a ham-fisted reference to the evils of Japanese-American internment camps in order to have an Asian character (James Yaegashi, a bright spot) have more depth.
The story is also undone by odd choices onstage. Why is Fred handed an overcoat at various times by a silent butler? Why does Joe Bell (a completely miscast George Wendt from "Cheers" fame) recite dialogue in unison with another character to show a time shift only for the play to then immediately abandon this storytelling technique? And why does the tone sometimes dip into bad film noir, what with all that rain and thunder?
While Wendall K. Harrington's projections and Colleen Atwood's costumes are first-rate — romantic and stylish for Clarke and faithful to the era — Derek McLane's sets are unusually flimsy, with one unmoored door sweeping across the stage with as much frequency as a crazed Roomba. The last preview was marred slightly by the crash of broken cups as the bar set failed to follow stage directions. Like the cat.
Come to think of it, maybe the cat can be forgiven for bad behavior. It has, after all, had to sit through too much of this.
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