Presented by Kevin Schon at the Union Square Theatre, 100 E. 17 St., NYC, March 22-April 18.
"If I were a word, I would be 'more'!" exclaims Yeardley Smith in her autobiographical one-woman play. The cry for excess refers to her constant hunger for food, attention, love—anything to fill the void inside. The actress still feels this longing even though she has steady and lucrative employment on one of the most successful TV shows in the history of the planet. You see, Smith is the voice of Lisa Simpson, the intellectual misfit daughter of the cartoon family "The Simpsons."
Despite this, and an Emmy for her performance on the series, Smith battles depression, bulimia, unfulfilling romances, and lack of satisfying acting work that requires the use of her entire body. At times the monodrama verges on self-pitying psychotherapy. After all, how many actors reading this would kill to be in Smith's place? But she has a self-deprecating charm, along with that cotton-candy voice, and manages to skirt self-indulgence.
Skillfully directed by Judith Ivey (who recently had a run in her own solo piece, "Women on Fire"), "More" follows Smith as she deals with her repressed Yankee family, starring on Broadway at 19 as Cynthia Nixon's understudy and later replacement in "The Real Thing," moving to L.A. and hitting it big with "The Simpsons," but still feeling like a failure. She frankly admits she loves the limelight, but is ashamed of wanting it.
Actors will particularly enjoy a rapid-fire rundown of a decade in Smith's professional life, ranging from noticed small parts in films to disappointing callbacks. There's also a screamingly funny segment about a handyman-stalker that brings the pitfalls of fame into sharp relief.
This is a frank and brutal ride on the roller coaster that is an acting career. Young performers are urged to take it in and find out that even if you are in the biggest hit in the universe, it won't make you happy. Smith tells us you have to do that for yourself.