By Jess Cagle
Updated February 13, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

Playwright Tina Howe deconstructs the life of Mabel Tidings, a woman who breaks free of her WASPy confines, swims the English Channel, and finds life back on land to be most disappointing. Pride’s Crossing is a bit uneven, but as Mabel, Cherry Jones (The Heiress ages from preschooler to dowager with consummate grace and skill. A-