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Best Actress Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2009 - Barbara Bradshaw in Eugene Ionesco's The Chairs, Palm Beach Dramaworks

Eugene Ionesco's plays are fantastical imaginative flights with no stable anchors in the real world. His characters often speak nonsense words, swing from states of extreme agitation to euphoria with no obvious catalyst, and find themselves in unlikely or impossible situations. It takes a good actor to connect this stuff to an audience in any way beyond the abstractly cerebral, and Barbara Bradshaw is very, very good. In The Chairs, she played one-half of an elderly couple (the other half was played by the excellent Dan Leonard) scurrying to set up chairs for a party taking place, either literally or figuratively, at the end of the world. At the party's climax, her husband intended to reveal the meaning of life. Of course, he didn't know the meaning of life (or anything else), as Bradshaw surely understood. No matter: This is a play about, among other things, the pitiable nature of the male ego and the way a woman coddles, boosts, and ultimately devours it in a cannibalistic orgy of mother love. Bradshaw got it just right. Her wide eyes and beatifically smiling face appraised her spouse like he was some combination of kitten, baby, and dinner, but she never showed her cards. From the beginning of the play to its crazy, apocalyptic end, she exuded a kindness so warm, thick, and impenetrable that only later, after leaving the play, might one realize how close it came to suffocating all present.

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Marlene Miner
Marlene Miner

To Barbara BradshawI received your name from Joe Gillie when he spoke at our Women's Club meeting last month. I am inviting you to speak to our group on Monday night at 7:30 either Jan 10,March 14,April 11 or May 9Marlene MInerVP Valencia Falls Women'Club561 496-3509

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