Saturday, October 08, 2011

Spalding Gray’s Tortured Soul -

The late ’60s and ’70s were a period of great artistic and personal ferment for Gray, as he struggled through a nervous breakdown and the dissolution of his relationship with LeCompte and toward the confessional monologue for which he would later become famous. Throughout his work with the Performance Group, Gray honed his sense of self as a performer. In one play, he portrayed a character named Spalding, based on how Schechner saw him — an observer commenting on the action. Later he and LeCompte began collaborating on theatrical pieces — he as actor, she as director — that explored Gray’s family history and the death of his mother. As he increasingly mined his own life for material, he simultaneously grew adept at keeping parts of himself private, shaving just the top layer of a secret and offering it up as a convincing whole. “The well-told partial truth to deflect the private raw truth,” Gray once observed about his monologues in his journal.