Cynthia Carr


    LILY TOMLIN WAS ONSTAGE walking a new character into the show, not yet “acting.” But even as she spoke the lines flat, the character’s body appeared. There was that confident knees-bent stance of someone carrying what he knows he can carry. Tomlin had found his center of gravity, the energy that—without props or costume changes—would set Paul the bodybuilder apart from the other thirteen characters in The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe.

    Tomlin and Jane Wagner, the play’s writer/director, blocked out moments where they might insert him. The bodybuilder’s stance shifted up