Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

Drunk and Not Forgotten

The hottest actor in New York right now is Liev Schreiber. “New York Times” theater critic Ben Brantley calls him the “finest American theater actor of his generation.” I saw Schreiber in David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross” a couple of years ago. And last week I saw him drink, chain smoke, snort cocaine, and viciously hurt those who love him in the guise of a broken talk radio show host named Barry Champlain, in Eric Bogosian’s play “Talk Radio.”


Though Mr. Chattering will forever be my one and only, I’ve… um, it’s been difficult to get Liev Schreiber out of my chattering head.

In the course of 90 minutes, Schreiber’s character dumps his co-dependent girlfriend, viciously chews out his best friend, maybe ruins his whole career (but maybe not), and gets drunk and stoned enough to sustain more than 60 seconds of radio silence as he sits at his desk in a depressive sulk. Schreiber’s hugely attractive, compelling energy seemed to be sucking nothing but awe out of the audience. The way he physically portrays a man who is completely smashed mesmerized me. I’m the adult child of an alcoholic parent, you see. And it was surprising how both the revulsion and the love came charging back.


Drunks are truth-tellers. Drunks have special connections to wonderous states of consciousness.

Drunks are also drunks. And really dense, oblivious to the lives they’re damaging.

Anyway, I don’t think Schreiber, the actor, is too religious or spiritual. Here’s the only piece of an interview I could find that touches upon his Jewish upbringing.

ELLE: You’ve said that you felt being Jewish was a cultural thing. In relationships, is there any trait that you regularly display that would be considered culturally Jewish?

LS: Complaining a lot.

Hum. Too bad. So that’s that.

“CSI” fans are jubilant that Schreiber has signed on for a continuing part in that television series.

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Anonymous Also

posted April 1, 2007 at 3:54 pm

As a fellow Adult Child Of An Alcoholic Parent, I hope you were kidding about the “Drunks are truth tellers…” line. Nothing personal to you at all, but IMO, that is total BS. The only “truth” I learned from my drunk parent was that they didn’t give a damn about anyone but themselves or their fellow drunks.

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A Cunningham

posted April 2, 2007 at 4:27 am

Well, when they’re drunk, alcoholics sometimes say things that haven’t been said and are so. Their objectives in telling the truth often aren’t admirable, but they do dare to speak forbidden things. I am sometimes drawn to the drunk at the party who sees life through a different lens, or at least in a way that seems funny or “deep” initially and then proves to be just alcohol talking. I could try to find some Baudelaire quotes for you to lend some color here and more evidence, but it’s Easter week and I’d rather not. Blissings! –CM

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A Cunningham

posted April 2, 2007 at 6:58 am

Regarding alcoholics as truth-tellers: Think Martha Mitchell during the days of Watergate…

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Anonymous Also

posted April 3, 2007 at 2:00 am

I don’t even drink, but I have no problem being the dense and oblivious one here. You evidently grew up with a happy drunk parent. I didn’t. Mine tried for as long as I can remember to get me to kill myself “for the good of the family”. I can remember many a time waking up as a child and finding a (loaded) gun, or rat poison that had been left on my nightstand. Now that I’m an adult, I have no reason to spend my time putting up with drunks or their psycho behaviors and don’t. That said, I still mean nothing personal to you whatsoever. Happy Easter To All,

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