The Dianalogues, Third Circle Theatre Company, at Philosofur’s. A guruish fellow I know once spoke eloquently about people’s intense responses to Princess Diana’s life and death. The average person, he said, is unwilling to accept his or her own inner nobility, instead projecting it onto celebrities. We give enormous power to these icons, allowing them to carry the beauty, glamour, and dignity we cannot recognize or acknowledge in ourselves. When they die–particularly when they die young, as they often seem to–we grieve not really for them but for a part of ourselves that’s been ripped away, at least until some other rising star can pick up the pieces.

Playwright Laurel Haines illustrates this phenomenon in her series of monologues by ten women–all portrayed by Heather Olt and Ginger Leigh–who were somehow touched by the People’s Princess. Some of Haines’s pieces are better in concept than execution: for example, the scene in which Mother Theresa complains about her death getting second billing. But Haines also comes through with some moments of observant wit–celebrity impersonators cashing in on dead icons–and vulnerability: a housewife sharing her plans to find Diana, still living, and offer her a low-profile home in her Duluth guest room. Olt moves between these and other characters with energy and fluid grace, while Leigh offers a cute–albeit shrill and kinda whiny–contrast.

–Kim Wilson