Finding Elizabeth Taylor
nytheatre.com review by Amy Lee Pearsall
October 14, 2012
If you enjoy solo-performance, be certain to check out the third annual United Solo Theatre Festival. Running at Theatre Row on 42nd Street through November 18th, this year’s United Solo features 100 short theatrical productions from around the world, the majority of which will only run once. Take a chance, pick a day, and take in some of the rich and varied offerings this delightful festival has to offer.
Sharing a name with a Hollywood legend – especially when you, too, are a performer – has the potential to result in a certain amount of mental baggage. In her one-woman show Finding Elizabeth Taylor, playwright and performer Elizabeth Claire Taylor (yes, her real name) serves up a true, cautionary tale about a young woman searching for self-identity in the shadow of a rogue celebrity role model.
With dyed black hair, peaches-and-cream complexion, and violet eyes, the young and very much alive Ms. Taylor’s physical resemblance to Liz Taylor would be quite enough to draw a parallel. When you add to the mix her similar substance addictions, body image issues, and sexual exploits, you begin to wonder whom, exactly, the young Ms. Taylor has been searching for.
As directed by Cheryl King, here Taylor plays…well…herself. She is open, honest about her past, and personable – a survivor. Now a plus-sized model and activist in addition to being a performer, Taylor recalls using a tell-all book by La Liz as a bible of sorts to guide her through the pills, booze, jewelry, men, and theatrical training – all while battling her personal demons on machines at the gym.
You can catch United Solo’s second and final presentation of Finding Elizabeth Taylor on Monday, November 5th at 9:00 p.m. Try to get there a few minutes early; the piece opens with some footage from Christie’s recent exhibit and auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry, as well as some extended film trailers featuring you-know-who.