Lily Tomlin Stephen Holden - Essay

Stephen Holden

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

On Stage [is] more than just a recorded stage show; it's a self-sufficient album comparable to the best of the Firesign Theater. (p. 93)

The bulk of the album consists of three pieces, "Tell Miss Sweeney Goodbye," "Lud and Marie Meet Dracula's Daughter" and "Glenna—A Child of the 60's." Formal monologues conceived in the high-theatric tradition of Ruth Draper, they downplay Tomlin's gift for caricature to pursue more intellectual ends. In "Miss Sweeney," the most perfect piece, Tomlin alternately recalls and reenacts a crush she had on her second-grade teacher. Though prefaced with a salvo at the Fifties ("a decade of foreplay"), the monologue is a virtual paean to sublimation in which Lily...

(The entire section is 436 words.)