Spalding Gray has an eye condition that can be surgically corrected. He decides to seek alternate treatment and embarks on a journey that will take him to Christian Science, Native American sweat lodges and psychic surgeons, among others.Written by
Erik Gregersen <email@example.com>
The Broadway performance of "Gray's Anatomy" by Spalding Gray opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on November 28, 1993, ran for 13 performances and closed on January 3, 1994. A repeat performance reopened at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on June 5, 1994, ran for 8 performances and closed on June 27, 1994. See more »
But that's why some people love Spalding Gray. And although I do not fall into that category, per se, I was very entertained by this 80-minute monologue -- told in ranting New Yorker mannerisms that are nonetheless fairly endearing -- about what Gray should do about his macular pucker.
The macular pucker, we learn in great detail, is an eye condition that must ultimately be "scraped" in order to restore normal vision. Gray, a born Christian Scientist and an enduring doctor-phobe, walks around New York City, tearing his hair out while choosing among the opinions of an array of quacks who weigh in on the issue. (Or, at least, he describes himself doing this -- the whole film is a series of closeups of Gray in a studio, with various visual stimuli applied to him, through the wonderful direction of the visionary Steven Soderbergh). Through the course of the narrative he describes near-slapstick visits to a Native American sweat lodge, a Phillipino doctor who is the Elvis of healers, a quirky New Jersey "dietary opthalmologist" and several others. It's all told with great storytelling verve, and occasional moments of poignancy.
The film also consists of a series of short documentary interviews with about 8 survivors of eye trauma, who each nearly lost (or in some cases did) vision in stomach-churning ways. Their occasional thoughts on the healing process are very fascinating.
Because of its odd structural format, the one-man narrative film threatens to fall by the wayside. Not that it has ever been a particularly popular form, but its appeal is perhaps dwindling further as our attention spans, and ability to sit through prolonged stories, deteriorate. However, Gray, with a boost from Soderbergh, gives the genre a good name -- and hope
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