Best Goose-Bump-Inducing Performance

Donna Weinsting

What's a mother to do? First Rose Kirk's daughter Claudia made a career choice — high-end prostitute in Manhattan — that was difficult to brag about at family reunions. Then Claudia went and killed one of her clients. Although Tom Topor's Nuts is mostly about Claudia's efforts to obtain the speedy trial guaranteed to her by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Mama Rose wasn't much concerned with legalities. As so distressingly wrought by Donna Weinsting for St. Louis Actors' Studio, Rose was a bundle of contradictions. When Weinsting took to the stand to fill in the details of her daughter's life, the audience began to hang on every word. Clearly something was going on here beyond an account of Claudia's cheery youth. Nuts had taken root between the lines of the text. The deceptive simplicity of Weinsting's nuanced performance was like a slow bleed that seems innocuous enough at first — and then you begin to feel faint. Next thing you know, only a tourniquet will save your life. Weinsting's portrayal drained the blood out of everyone in the audience.

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