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Slow Girl — Dobama

January 30th, 2015 1 comment

Dobama Poster

First, let me say that if you’re looking for something to do and you haven’t seen Slow Girl, then go and see it at Dobama: I was there opening night and enjoyed the play.

Leighann DeLorenzo (Director) did a fantastic job keeping the pace taught on a play that has a good potential to drag or, to be punny, slow. Let’s face it, a two hander with a middle-aged man and a teenage girl that involves heart-to-heart conversations has a great likelihood of not working. After all, what really is there to discuss? Delorenzo also does a great job in balancing the serious nature of the questions (stated or not) at play and the humor that often occurs due to the imbalance of experience between the characters.

In the case of Greg Pierce’s play there actually is a bit to discuss and the exposition is handled deftly. Information is released reluctantly and at the right time with a good bit of audience interest necessary to tease out and discover what actually is going on. The teenage girl, Becky (Miranda Leeann Scholl), is difficult to trust. The mystery surrounding her present difficulty is not immediately clear nor is her role in the problem that she has. Her maternal uncle, Sterling (Christopher Bohan) is a mirror image of Becky in his own problems. Both have experienced social events that scar them and leave them ambivalent about engaging with people. The two are, however, forced to interact because of proximity and blood relations.

Becky is short for Rebecca, which is Hebrew for “a snare.” According to “Behind the Name,” Sterling can be a surname from the Scotish city of Stirling, whose meaning is lost to time; or the embodiment of the name for silver which, apparently, Norman coins bore, meaning “star.” A snare is a small trap for catching birds, and it is perhaps significant that the eponymous “Slow Girl” of the play is wearing bird wings at a party and claiming to be able to fly. The question remains, is Becky the snare or has she herself been ensnared.

Society has always been a prickly pear. Reading my literary history works that keep certain writings in context, one quickly learns that the social structures and opinions of a time period often had great influence on a writer: think Lord Byron or Percy Bysshe Shelley, etc. Nowadays the pressure has intensified with the almost claustrophobic presence of social media. Your failure to behave appropriately in virtually any circumstance can be the instantaneous trigger for your eternal damnation. It is no surprise, then, that these two characters find themselves ensnared in a milieu of their own making.

The play is about more than the events that place Becky and Sterling in their respective darkness, however. It is not a play about overcoming not the social response to an event, but to strengthening yourself to handle it: to confront what you have done, make a decision about its correctness, to gain confidence in your own certainty about events, and to move forward. In this regard, both characters need each other to do so. Before they can move forward, however, they need to expose themselves to each other, which means letting the crusty defensive exteriors break and fall apart.

While there are several ways that this is accomplished in the play, the most dramatic is the labyrinth on the floor—modeled on that of Chartres Cathedral, I believe. In this case, the labyrinth is a contemplative force: meditative. Like that in Chartres, you walk the path of the labyrinth and consider the trap you’ve found yourself in. Hopefully, through meditation, you’ll find your way clear to understanding your position: if not your way out. Labyrinths are everywhere in the past, from the maze that Daedelus hazards against the dreaded Minotaur to the spiral carvings on stones outside of Celtic barrows. We are always spiraling in and out of consciousness, in and out of this world, in and out of ourselves, in and out or own precarious situations and habits. This is a play about how two ensnared people help each other out. It is only through this lens that the ending can be appropriately understood.

The actors did a great job in this production and Laura Carlson Tarantowski’s set design is impeccable.

A multiplicity

April 9th, 2016 No comments

Happy Meal

Happy Meal

I’ve been lax in my posting. I went over to convergence and participated in Booty Candy by Robert O’Hara, which is a hilarious play and well-directed by Terrence Spivey. Very meta, culminating at the end of the first act with a mini playwright conference in which each playwright discusses his or her play, scenes from which we’ve seen already, including a cross dressing pastor (Dreamin’ in Church/Michael May), Bootycandy (Wesley Allen/India Nicole Burton) the eponymous name of the male genitalia that might fall off if not cleaned properly; Genitalia: a phone conversation, a mocking gesture to the obscure names some black children receive (India Nicole Burton/Rochelle Jones), and Drinks and Desire (Wesley Allen/Nate Miller), a drinking scene of desire and repression. The play is a retrospective of the character Sutter (Wesley Allen) a young black man coming of age and coming to terms with his being gay. The scenes that make up the play are episodic, but they are truly funny and the acting is fantastic throughout. The play runs one more weekend.

I went to The Revisionist by Jesse Eisenberg at Dobama. I thought the play was ‘one note’ in terms of its dramatic action, but the acting was great and it was a pleasure to see Dorothy Silver. It was directed by Leighann Delorenzo who always does a great job.



My good friend Jared Bendis had his MFA thesis production at Case’s Department of Dance. I had forgotten the power of dance to create a dreamlike experience. The choreography, of all the pieces, was wonderful. The production was of several pieces, called Momentum, Jared’s pieces were Chroma and Château de Rêves, a dance piece with a stunning large scale multimedia show of Jared’s photographs from his travels around Europe. The pieces that left the deepest impression included Dark Covenant, with artistic director Gary Galbraith and Richard Oaxaca, reinacting through movement the story of Faust. Oaxaca has an impressive production history and physically is as close as you’ll ever come to seeing a chiseled marble statue spring to life and gracefully dash across a three dimensional space. The piece Until Death do us Part was impressive in altogether quiet way. And In Ancient Waters was magnificent, creating a dreamlike other world in which men and women seem to merge into fantastical beasts. Andrea Alvarez is an equally graceful and powerful dancer, and she choreographed many of these pieces as well.

Took my daughter to the Kids Comic Con at Lake Erie Ink, where she got to participate in an all day conference dedicated to different aspects of creating comics and graphic novels. There were many break-out sessions that were of interest to her, especially “action in comics” and how it is conveyed both in the West (pow, bam, etc) and in manga, which blurs frames foregoing the more obvious approach used in older comics. Her interest increases and we just picked up a digital tablet and Manga Studio 5 so she can draw (or trace) her work directly to the digital realm.

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