BEST ACTRESS Minneapolis 2002 - Phyllis Wright
The Frank Theatre has made excellent use of actress Phyllis Wright's seemingly perpetual scowl these past few seasons. First there was Perfect Pie, in which Wright acted out the role of a defeated Canadian farm wife with slouched shoulders, a droll monotone, and lively eyes. More recently, Wright starred in Carson Kreitzer's SELF-DEFENSE, or death of some salesmen, in which Wright bundled her small frame into a ball of furious energy, popping up occasionally on her tiptoes to hurtle some obscenity or stick up for her tendency to murder men by the side of the road. Both performances were terrific and would have been enough to attract notice here. But Wright offered more. In Jeffrey Hatcher's revamped Good 'n' Plenty at the Illusion, she played every single female teacher at a small urban high school, including a discipline-minded civics instructor and a perpetually flirty foreign-language teacher. Each of these performances was a neatly crafted comic caricature, so carefully and humorously detailed that Wright seemed to bring her own spotlight onto the stage with her. She wasn't the only performer onstage worth watching, but while she was onstage, she was the only one we watched.