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Theater

Learning to mistrust

For 'Intrigue With Faye,' Julianna Margulies and Benjamin Bratt explore a relationship rife with intimacy issues.

June 01, 2003|Patrick Pacheco | Special to The Times

Even so, they're aware that the play runs the danger of being too pyschobabbly. Bratt recalls that when he mentioned this to Simpson, the director told him, "This will be more August Strindberg than Dr. Phil."

"We even called ourselves George and Martha at one point," Margulies says. But the actors also maintained that the play is powered by a profoundly exciting sexuality. "The truth is a real turn-on," she says. "When you're given a magnifying glass into each other, that's going to be the most exciting thing in the world. We talked a lot about what the characters did after they watched these videos of each other, and we figured they went off and [acted] like bunnies."

As admiring of Kean and Lissa as Bratt and Margulies are, they're not quite sure they would embark on the same path to reach their psychological eurekas. "Oh, God, it definitely captures my curiosity, but I wouldn't want to live that way. I abhor reality TV shows. I've got my own life to live, I don't need to watch somebody else's. I'd go nuts if somebody probed all the time the way Lissa does Kean. In a perfect world, the way I am when I'm not with my boyfriend wouldn't stun him. The ultimate goal is to be comfortable with who you are. But to have a camera on me all the time? I'd be worried about hair and makeup!"

Says Bratt: "I find the whole notion horrifying. The only time I have any level of comfort in front of the camera is when I'm playing someone else. That level of scrutiny would be awkward. As honest as you want or try to be with your life partner, there are some things better left unsaid. There's a question that's begged in the play, 'Do you have secrets?' We all do and some of those secrets are best left in your head and not shared."

"You know how they have those disposable cameras?" Margulies adds. "I wish there were disposable video cameras that we could put in a big bowl in the lobby of the theater. And people could take them home with them after the show and spend one night or day taping each other to see, as Lissa might say, what comes up for them."

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