The only thing that would be more interesting than being Truman Capote, would be being Truman Capote’s switchboard operator. Capote was a famed novelist, screenwriter, and socialite known for In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Tru at the Pittsburgh Public Theater presents Capote in all his telephone line twirling and gossiping goodness, but also delves deeper into his psyche the week before Christmas in a one-man show led by Eddie Korbich.
Before Capote walked into his room, you were most likely to hear his voice first. One of the most iconic aspects of his persona was his high pitched and expressive voice. Korbich embraces Capote effortlessly. He carries a sense of buoyancy with him in the first act, almost like he himself is another flourish to the eclectic décor of his Manhattan apartment. Capote gives us a more personal view into his life. What’s so interesting about him is the fact he is so engaged with the gossip and celebrities of the time, but this activity is inherently as the role of the observer. Because of this, when the audience becomes and observer to an observer there is a more poignant sense of contemplation which lends itself to the monodrama format.
Korbich never lets Capote slip away from him even as his clear alcoholism begins to take hold. Korbich adds a necessary weight to the perceived levity of Capote. This is aided by Jay Presson Allen’s writing. The script is riddled with references as Capote spouts about Ava Gardner and his high society milieu. Though it makes sense and helps give a stronger foundation to the character, it seems to bog down the real meat and what had the potential to be a compelling exploration of Capote as a person. No surprise, Tru finds its strength when Capote begins to talk about himself, describing personal moments from his youth and his mother. Korbich’s brings an honesty that makes these moments tactfully gripping.
Ted Pappa’s direction has just as much of an understanding of Capote as Korbich. It meanders with purpose as Korbich litanies over the struggles of being a writer, a homosexual, a cultural sensation. The Pittsburgh Public Theater’s production of Tru is just as small as Truman Capote’s voice. There is definitely strength behind it, but only once the façade of it all is taken away.
Presented by The Pittsburgh Public Theater
Directed by Ted Pappas
Written by Jay Presson Allen
Starring Eddie Korbich
Special thanks to The Pittsburgh Public Theater for complimentary press tickets. Tru runs through May 22nd, tickets and more information can be found here.