|Frank Girardeau, Kristen Marie. (Photo: William E. Miller,)|
Charles Manson, leader of the cult called The Family, which carried out a horrible multiple murder whose victims included screen actress Sharon Tate (an event recently dramatized in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), had spent 22 years of his wretched life behind bars, thus providing the title for this spurious attempt to blame society and drugs for Manson’s misdeeds. The large-cast play, which included two songs by Manson himself, was termed a “rockumentary,” and had been developed in group workshops using improvisational techniques.
Although insufficiently demonstrated, 22 Years sought to depict Manson as a nonviolent mystic imbued with “charitable” impulses. “[R]arely dull,” the play, wrote Arthur Sainer, was “an adult piece of drama, filled with theatrical intelligence and, for all its fuzziness, . . . distinctive.” Mel Gussow disagreed, feeling that the argument that “violence, . . . massacre and mutilation are as American as apple pie” was invalid and “unconvincingly dramatized.”
The only name in the cast of 26 that stands out today is that of Chaz Palminteri.
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Next up: Twigs.