Patient: The Brownings
Legal Guardian: Playwright Sam Henderson
Symptoms: period blood, scotch, morphine, psychosis
Nurse, hand me my anti-bias pills. No, they're for me; histrionics are a theme in this one. I was initiatlly impressed by the considerate poetry in the monologues, but the legal guardian didn't write these: Lizzy did. The patient's plot imported poetic artifacts to conjure up a story about the nonfiction Browning; its purpose was merely to decorate the legal guardian's profane taste. Was Elizabeth Barrett Browning this wild? Her antiquated morphine prescription morphed into a license for dramatic vulgarity. Natural dialogue, exciting build-up, smooth transitions, and insightful subtext show that the legal guardian was raised better: just like Browning's rep. Schumann's late meandering is unfun and can be generously sliced. I'd mention the utter futility of the fourth-wall-breaking cliché, but the patient is already dead. Let the defibrillator get to it in the morning.