Best Performance by an Actor

William Humphrey and Isaiah Di Lorenzo, True West

Staff Pick

It may seem like a hedge to name two actors in the same show, but only if you didn't see True West at St. Louis Actors' Studio. William Humphrey and Isaiah Di Lorenzo played warring brothers in Sam Shepard's drama, and in the course of the play, they very subtly exchange roles. Humphrey's good son Austin, seemingly nailed to his typewriter in the early going, works diligently on a spec script for a Hollywood producer. Lee, played by Di Lorenzo, bounds around his brother, peppering him with meaningless questions and bragging about his nerve as a casual burglar. Even if you pay close attention — and it was impossible not to — the moment when Lee first takes over the script and Austin transitions into burglary is hard to nail down. Is it when Lee talks his way into a golf game with the producer? Is it when Austin starts drinking for more than enjoyment? Did they begin to become each other somewhere in the past, when their father headed out to the desert for good? Humphrey and Di Lorenzo are unrecognizable in the play's final moments, locked in total war with each other and themselves. It was a remarkable transformation, one that depended on the actors' individual skill and their trust in each other.

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