‘Belle’ crew weighs Abstinence vs. absinthe

The Green Fairy debuts at Lincoln Center

Martha Clarke and Charles L. Mee opened their “Belle Epoque” at Lincoln Center Sunday night, and the stage was awash with absinthe, the green curse of Gay Paree.

For his part, Mark Povinelli claims never to have tried the stuff responsible for rotting Toulouse-Lautrec’s brain. Instead, he played the artist of “alternative stature by acting drunk but lucid.”

To get in the mood, costar Joyce Castle keeps a half-drunk bottle of absinthe in her dressing room. “It comes from Czechoslovakia,” she said. “I think it is supposed to taste like licorice, but I’ve never drunk any. I’m like Bill Clinton. ‘I never inhaled.’ ”

Clarke also claims abstinence when it comes to absinthe. As she tells it, “I just like the color green.”

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