One Woman Show
The actor's nightmare of forgetting one's lines is a common to most thespians-there's even a play by the same name-but little has been said or written about a producer's nightmare.
In One Woman Show, creator Mary-Laurence Bevington and her co-collaborators at square product theatre explore the pitfalls of theatrical producing by employing the tried and true conceit of a show within a show.
|Bobby Dartt as Bobby|
and Emily K. Harrison as Kelly G.
Before they do so, we're treated to a video montage of some notable local actors—Karen Slack, Philip Sneed, Mare Trevathan, GerRee Hinshaw, et al—giving tongue-in-cheek advice to the lead character, Carol Anne, on how to put together a one-person show.
As the story begins, we're told that midstream in the rehearsal process Carol Anne has left on a trip to India and must be replaced by another actor, Bobby (Bobby Dartt), who dons a wig and the requisite feminine persona. With the absence of Carol Anne—whose real life counterpart (Bevington), the program notes, is actually in India—we lose a key frame of reference on the process itself, which hampers the comedic arc and leaves us wondering whose story this is.
The video segments refer to Carol Anne, but she is absent; Bobby (as Carol Anne) provides the entertainment, but is unable to reference the advice that introduced the show; Kelly G (Emily K. Harrison), the producer, provides detached commentary, but is left holding the bag. The script begs for a handoff scene between Carol Anne and Kelly G., which transfers ownership from the titular subject to the eventual recipient.
Dartt's send up as Carol Anne is playful and his piano playing and singing engaging, but they do not provide a focus for the plot. Harrison's and Johnson's performances get caught in the netherworld that often happens when actors play people who are attempting to act, but can't—too much like what we would expect from a stage manager and producer, not actors playing these roles.
That the video vignettes represent most of the highlight of the production indicates a need for the script to revisit the original premise of the show. Indeed, the actor's nightmare in this case is not that they have forgotten their lines, but that their lines are often melodramatic and wholly inadequate at driving the action.
The world premiere of One Woman Show runs through May 8th at the Wesley Chapel, 1290 Folsom Street, Boulder. Tickets are $14 at the door.