Critical Stage

06.20.14

Lindsay Lohan May Star in a West End Play. Is She Crazy?

Lindsay Lohan may star in a West End revival of David Mamet play. She’s either completely out of her mind or smarter than we give her credit for.

Lindsay Lohan may star in a West End play. It may be the best thing to happen to her career. It may also be the worst. But give the actress credit for thrusting forward with her attempt to revive her career with the same reckless abandon that nearly destroyed it.

According to reports in The New York Times and on E! Online, Lohan has been in London over the past several months to prepare for a possible role in a possible West End revival of David Mamet’s play, Speed-the-Plow. Never mind the fact that there’s been no official announcement of Lohan’s casting. Never mind the fact that there’s not even been an official announcement of this revival even being planned. Lohan has been cryptically alluding to starring in the play, and the prospect is as tantalizing as it is terrifying.

The Times, carefully couching its words, said it spoke with Lohan about a “potential appearance” in Speed-the-Plow. Lohan wasn’t too specific about the details either, telling the paper, “It’s the first time I’ve done a stage play or anything like that. I’m nervous but excited.”

On Friday, Lohan continued to fan the flames, insinuating with an Instagram posting that this play is a real thing that’s happening, even though no announcement about it has yet been made. “At work! First day…Read through,” she captioned a photo of herself standing outside a doorway with “Stage Door” written over it.

So either Lindsay Lohan really is going to star in a new production of Speed-the-Plow in the West End, or she is entertaining a very grand and very sad delusion.

If this is true—and let’s all just operate under the assumption that it is—it’s a pretty thrilling career move for Lohan. It’s pretty thrilling for us, too, who will no doubt analyze every single acting choice she makes in the production and every report about her behavior during rehearsals in terms of what it means for the Hollywood comeback Lohan has been so vocal about desperately wanting. Heck, we’ll even analyze the unsubstantiated news that there’s even a remote possibility that she may be doing this production, and what that means for her comeback.

Speed-the-Plow is a particularly interesting choice for Lohan. (Let’s pretend that Lohan’s in some sort of position to choose acting projects.) David Mamet’s satirical play about Hollywood ambition and backstabbing is really challenging, requiring an ability to pull off his crackling and, at times, hectic dialogue. But it’s also one that’s shrouded with a history of Hollywood buzz and controversy. Madonna, of all people, originated the juicy role of the female character, Karen, which Lohan would play, in the original 1988 Broadway production.

Lindsay Lohan
On June 20, Lohan posted this photograph of herself with the caption: "At work! First day.. Read through." (Instagram)

Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss most recently played it in a 2008 Broadway revival. That production, which got solid notices, is more remembered though for the ass-hattery of Moss’s co-star, Jeremy Piven, who withdrew from the play at the eleventh hour with the dubious excuse of mercury poisoning from eating too much sushi. (Seriously.)

Can Lindsay Lohan act better than Madonna? Can she be a more reliable star than Jeremy Piven?

Seriously, though, it’s hard not to admire Lohan’s continued willingness to bare herself and her talents naked in order to prove that she’s worthy of another shot at being a regularly working actress. There was the literal nakedness of The Canyons, her film with Bret Easton Ellis that co-starred a porn star, featured an orgy, and showed off Lohan’s raw acting chops. Divisive as the film was, it was a bold move for Lohan, who was legitimately impressive in it.

Then there was the unfettered access she gave—albeit some of it at the forced hand of producers—to Oprah for her recent OWN reality series, which showed Lohan stripped bare and ready to battle and, ultimately, exorcise her personal demons in the name of winning back the trust of Hollywood. An all-access documentary on the wreckage from your personal trainwreck is not a career move that most stars would make, which is why it’s one that should be applauded and appreciated from Lohan.

And now a stage play, which may be the shrewdest move Lohan’s made yet…if this play is real and if she pulls it off.

Rehearsing for a major production requires the discipline and responsibility that much of Hollywood doesn’t believe that Lohan possesses enough of to hire her for a film. And there’s nothing to hide behind by when giving a live performance. No second takes, no editing tricks, no clever camera angles. Lohan will have to prove that she’s a dedicated and talented actress in order to make it out of this experience without further embarrassing herself and sinking her career more than she already has.

How cool would it be if she can actually do it?