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Monday May 30, 2016
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Being Jeff Daniels



cultivating a unique voice, he seems to write as a way of processing whatever's swirling around in his brain. Dumb and Dumber may have begat his bawdy broad comedy Escanaba in Da Moonlight. He wrote Guest Artist in the wake of The Squid and the Whale, both about writing careers that soared then fizzled. I think I can find other matches too between an acting role and a play he's written, but my point is that Daniels writes about something he's thinking about, then he moves on.

The Meaning of Almost Everything suggests that lately Daniels has been rummaging around inside that blandly handsome cranium of his looking for his inner Beckett, and if what he found was more Beckett-meets-Seinfeld-meets-Three Stooges-meets-acting classes, well, I'll say amen to that. The spare, baffling ambiguity of mid-twentieth-century theatre of the absurd is a river that probably can't be stepped in twice. The Meaning of Almost Everything is more like wandering around in Jeff Daniels' brain as he thinks about theatre of the absurd, and assorted other things poke their way in.

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