Television’s Grey Gardens
A group of us saw the premiere of HBO’s drama Grey Gardens last night. Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore were both excellent as Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale, the aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. The rest of the cast was very good as well.
Lange’s voice was too weak for Big Edie according to one of our crew. Albert and David Maysles’ documentary gave the impression that she had a more operatic voice. The Broadway musical and the production at Studio Theater in Washington, DC also gave that impression.
The drama and the musical featured widely different scenes. The romance with Joe Kennedy Jr. featured in the first act of the musical is dispelled in the drama. The drama adds an affair with a married man in New York that the musical elides. They both create differing impressions of secondary characters. The drama includes Big Edie’s husband, a character not in the musical, while the musical features Big Edie’s father, while the drama does not.
Three of us wondered whether we have had enough of these two characters. One wondered whether they learned anything new while another thought the characters were repeating lines that they had heard many times before.