10/17/12 Christian Siason

On Wednesday, October 17th, we went to see The Heiress on Broadway, starring Jessica Chastain as Catherine Sloper, David Strathairn as Dr. Austin Sloper, Dan Stevens as Morris Townsend, and Judith Ivey as Lavinia Penniman.

I thoroughly enjoyed Strathairn and Ivey’s performances as Austin and Lavinia; they really embodied the characters from the book, in my opinion. However, I didn’t really like Stevens’ work as Morris. He seemed far too sincere throughout the play and I actually felt bad for him, unlike in the book. I also disliked Chastain’s portrayal of Catherine – until the end, at least. I know that Catherine was a dull and simple girl in the novel, Washington Square, but I just found her to be mind-numbingly boring in the play. Her voice was monotone pretty much all the way through, and I just found it annoying after a certain point.

The end of the play was different from the ending in the story, and in my opinion, it was much more dramatic and entertaining. As boring as I found Catherine to be for the majority of the play, I definitely thought that she made up for it in the end. In the book, Catherine simply asked Morris to leave. In the play, she led him on. She promised, once again, to marry him, and he ran off to pack his bags. When he came back, she had closed the curtains and turned off the lights and had gone upstairs to her room, totally ignoring him. As I said earlier, I actually felt bad for Morris because in the play he seemed so sincere, but if this had been the ending in the book, I would have really enjoyed it and supported Catherine’s decision. I honestly think it would have been the perfect ending in the book.

Being able to watch this play was a fulfilling experience for me. Reading the book, I couldn’t see everything unfolding in front of me, though I was able to visualize scenes in my head. Going to Broadway to watch The Heiress allowed me to see these scenes acted out in front of me, and it really added to my appreciation of the story.