Burns and Murray review “Dr. Ruth, All the Way” at Barrington Stage Company [Berkshire on Stage]
Larry Murray: Throughout my life I have looked closely at successful people for a good role model to learn from. Dr. Ruth Westheimer may be it. The play that Mark St. Germain wrote about her received its world premiere last night at Barrington Stage Company. The playwright spent months with her and last night we joined her on her journey, in one of the finest stage productions I have seen in the past decade. Biography on stage doesn’t always work, but the gods were with us on this one. Did you have a similar reaction, that we were witnessing something not only original, but also transformative?
Gail Burns: Absolutely! This play, this production, this performance are inspiring and life-affirming, as well as being highly entertaining. And for me having Dr. Ruth herself so obviously and enthusiastically in the house enjoying the show made the play especially poignant to me. You cannot fool the person who lived this story and so I thoroughly believed that every word of what I was seeing was true in some way to Dr. Ruth, her personal ethos, and her story.
Larry: I find it difficult to put my finger on the key element that made this evening of theatre so rewarding. It comes down to whether it was the subject matter, Julianne Boy’s direction or Debra Jo Rupp’s portrayal, right down to that famous accent.
Gail: This is a production where all the pieces fall perfectly in place. One-person shows can become talking-heads, but there is never a dull moment as Boyd has Rupp flying all over Brian Prather’s wonderful set. Indeed I don’t believe Dr. Ruth is ever idle in real life! St. Germain employs the “audience as guests” technique, so Rupp is speaking directly to you, inviting you into the story.