In a new play The Madrid, Edie Falco works with her Nurse Jackie producer, the playwright Liz Flahive. As Martha, Falco seems to be as self-medicated as she is in her Showtime role. The Madrid, a Manhattan Theater Club production at City Center Stage 1, opens in a classroom where Martha is animated and engaged, teaching her kindergarteners about family until one (Brooke Ashley Laine) asks, do you have children. Her eyes glaze as the scene changes. Under Leigh Silverman's able direction, so does the play's tone. Now a family is looking for Martha, or noticing she's gone. Family members, neighbors (John Ellison Conley, Heidi Schreck, Christopher Evan Welch) react. Her husband wants to sell the furniture. Even her mother, a good Frances Sternhagen, gets into the action, but she doesn't have much to do, except crash her car in the hope that Martha will return.
A gnawing question arises: Why did Martha leave? Is it a statement about domestic disillusion? The answer seems profound, offstage somewhere. Not until her daughter Sarah (Phoebe Strole) finds her at The Madrid, a seedy apartment building over a local bar, do we see this play may have something to do with mothers and daughters. The apartment is adorned with a Jane Fonda poster and futon. In one telling scene Martha wants Sarah to stay over, but Sarah has to get back for the yard sale. At play's end when the bed is out on the lawn, Martha returns and joins her daughter at last in a fetal sleep. This passive connection would be a good point of departure.
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