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Norman Lear

Adaptation of 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman' affectionate, uneven

Adaptation of 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman' affectionate, uneven

"Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," the tribute to the 1970s soap opera parody staged by Annex Theater, has a great pre-show -- a fun loop of commercials playing on a vintage TV set. The title character of the Norman Lear-launched original was obsessed with television and the products forever being hawked on air. The look in her eye, as glazed as the waxy build-up on her kitchen floor, spoke volumes about American consumer culture of the day. And the increasingly messy situations Mary found herself snared by in her not-so-idyllic hometown of Fernwood encapsulated so many things about the real world back then, while being played out via the dreadfully belabored methods of the...

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