nytheatre.com review by J Grawemeyer
Stepping into Miss Julie,
Strindberg's timeless tale of misogyny, I was pleasantly surprised to
hear teen pop star Britney Spears' "I'm Not that Innocent" in the
background, coupled with the dubious lip-synching of a girl dressed as
Britney who, with gyrating hips, introduces us to Miss Julie's world.
With all the media hoopla surrounding Spears' sexuality and quest for
independence (in the teen pop world, anyway) I thought the comparison
between Britney and Miss Julie would be interesting.
August 15, 2002
In Dana Edell's adaptation Miss Julie wears a pink wig, a T-shirt that says "Slut" and a corset. She is socially fallen, bitter and libidinous, and here the correlation between Miss Julie and Britney ends. Miss Julie asks if she is "the first or the last," positing whether she is a new breed of woman, a feminist (the play was written before the turn of the 20th century), or the last woman without the benefit of feminism. The director flirts with the idea of Britney as the new breed, but that theme is never fully realized and the familiar story of a repressed woman’s seduction of/by her servant plays out as expected. I left asking "What is the correlation between Britney and Miss Julie?" Both wild women, but that seems to be all they have in common.
There are a few thrills, including the brilliant costumes and the addition of the chorus, a group of peasant-whores-cum-Greek goddesses who create the world of and emphasize certain moments in the play, but who are so interesting they become distracting. The principals, Nurit Monacelli (Miss Julie), Malinda Walford (Christine), and Tommy Schrider (Jean) are all capable and fun to watch. The set design is fantastic—an amphitheater inset with a movable rope, within which the principles endlessly struggle. The sound design is so loud at times one cannot hear the actors.
I was also concerned about the Count's boots: The Count, Miss Julie's father, is a forbidding, fearsome man, and likewise so should be his boots. Here they are treated as another comedic element, which undermines the message of the play. Ultimately, though, the play is fun, the only version of Miss Julie I have actually enjoyed.