FOR someone who pretty much worships Laurie Metcalf, Joe Mantello isn't making her life easy in "The Other Place," opening Jan. 10 on Broadway. "I used to leave the stage for a total of, like, 10 seconds," Ms. Metcalf said of her experience in the show. "But we changed that."

Mr. Mantello directed Ms. Metcalf in the Off Broadway premiere of this twisty drama by Sharr White, which Manhattan Theater Club is transferring to the Samuel J. Friedman Theater in leaner and -- from Ms. Metcalf's perspective -- meaner form. She is seated on the stage before the play begins, and now she never leaves it.

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