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David Duchovny's Theater Debut: Neil LaBute's Break of Noon

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With a minimum of Neil LaBute's provocative, poetic potty mouth, his new play, The Break of Noon, opens with the sole survivor of an office massacre wrapped in a blanket, his ankle sheathed in a blood soaked cloth. Going over the gory details, this man-aptly named John Smith-- is stunned at how the gunman made a special point of slitting the throat of one victim as she played dead -- somehow, miraculously, missing killing him. Having seen The Light, Smith concludes that god has saved him for a purpose, and now he must spread His Word.

Under any circumstances, delivering this monologue would prove a challenge, but David Duchovny on the opening night of his theater debut of this world premiere of this MCC production at the Lucille Lortel Theater, had a bad cold. Nevertheless, the X-Files/ Californication actor, performed with the conviction of a cad turned evangelical. Under the fine direction of Jo Bonney, he embellishes his horror tale turned heavenward in ensuing scenes, going one-on-one with his ex-wife, her cousin who is his ex-girlfriend, his lawyer, a detective, a talk show host, and a naughty nurse-clad call girl whose mother was among the murdered. The ensemble, featuring Amanda Peet, John Earl Jelks, and Tracee Chimo, all in double roles, is superb. Chimo in particular as a bubble-headed television personality and er, prostitute giving head is hilarious.

Well, said Duchovny at the cozy after party at 49 Grove, technically he had done some theater before, in a school production of The Gift of the Magi, delivering frankincense, or was it myrrh? His real life wife, Tea Leoni chatted with Jessica Hecht discovering their children are the same age; New York based actors Ben Stiller with Christine Taylor, Tovah Feldshuh and Eric Bogosian were joined by X-File co-star Gillian Anderson who flew in from London for the occasion. Neil LaBute, as is his habit, missed his opening night.

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