Monday, August 15, 2011

Spotlight: Maria Dizzia

My friend Maria isn’t a household name, but she’s a riveting actress who was nominated for the 2010 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play). We met at the SITI Co. LA workshop in 1999 and I knew she was something special immediately. The last time I saw her onstage was as the title character in Sarah Ruhl’s reinterpretation of the classic Eurydice at 2nd Stage Theatre two years ago. In that role she was the embodiment of a poised, luminescent, curious presence. I felt more graceful and eloquent just watching her. And she breathed to life such a simultaneously fragile and formidable portrait of Eurydice that I will never look at the Orpheus myth the same again. (Ms. Ruhl, of course, helped with that too.) And while she hasn’t been in many films, that’s something I hope will be corrected very soon. Most recently she was the co-star in an episode of Louis on FX. If you haven’t seen the show it’s a profoundly dark, dangerous and real sort of 21st Century Seinfeld. Actually, it’s often not funny at all. It can be downright disturbing, as was the episode Maria was in. She plays directly across from Louis and she plays a part in such a raw way it's frankly a little terrifying. The arc she tears from unsuspecting to climax and back again reminds me of some of my less pretty dating stories. I think it's one of the more painfully awkwardly real and devastating moments I've seen on TV. You can watch her free on Hulu right now (for ONLY THE NEXT 3 DAYS then it becomes unavailable). Maria doesn’t come on until the second half (around 12:00, but you should watch the first half too. It’s pretty intense). Keep a look out for her if you’re in New York, she’s constantly in shows and readings. If you see her name, go.

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