Rebecca Simon (left, with Julie Daniels): Soulful and mean, she is the madame.
Written by Jean Genet. Directed by Jean-Louis Baldet. With Rebecca Simon, Trent Blanton, Tim Marriott, Edwin Isaac Mendez, Aaron Scott, and others. Presented through November 18 at FAU's Studio One Theatre, 777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton. Visit www.fauevents.com, or call 888-564-9539.
Really, though, the show belongs to grad student Rebecca Simon, who plays Madame Irma. Watching her here, you kind of wish she'd find a production of McNally's Masterclass to star in. She's got an astonishing gift for just about everything — last year, when she starred in A Bright Room Called Day, I figured she really was the punky teenager she played there. In The Balcony, I can't believe I saw her do that only a year ago. Here, she's mature, poised, altogether together, displaying a simultaneous soulfulness, meanness, and austerity that makes her actual physical age irrelevant. She is a madame — there is a gritty reality to her portrayal that makes even Genet's craziest, most self-referential lines seem organic and true. It's a shame she'll be out in the noncollegiate theater world soon. It won't offer her many roles like these.