IN YOUR SHOES
nytheatre.com review by Dan Asher
Attention: actresses, actors, writers interested in creating, or
performing a one person show, or for that matter, anyone else with 15
dollars and 75 minutes to spare: go and see In your Shoes,
written/performed by Nadia Bowers. It is the first production from Dead
Umbrella in association with Cheryl Dennis, having its FringeNYC 2003
run at the cozy Westbeth Community Center.
August 15, 2003
At lights up, an attractive actress in just a slip and red boots sits on the edge of a bathtub and starts to tell us about madness. This is usually enough to start my "bad theatre collision sirens" to blare. How wrong I was.
The actress’s name is Margo. Margo plans to follow in the wet footprints of her idol, Virginia Lovejoy, a schizophrenic ’70s folksinger, who committed suicide by drowning herself in a similar tub… Or did she? What actually happened that fateful night? What will happen to Margo on this one? You will not find out in this review. You should see the show, and decide for yourself. To help shed some light, Bowers conjures up seven different characters, all of whom had a relationship with Virginia at some stage of her short, flaming hot, tragic life. Virginia has touched them all in such a way so that each questions or confirms the validity of the coroner’s conclusion. (i.e., "Only Virginia could have taken her own life, everybody else wanted her around").
Bowers’ character work is magnificent. Each character is brilliantly constructed and executed. However, the writing is the key element that makes this piece special. Each anecdote is neatly composed, funny, and laced with the beautiful thoughts, dreams, sadness and joy that these people feel when recalling Virginia.
The stories are told interview style, and the transitions from one character to the next are accompanied by an audio/visual "dream sequence"- type program, which has been very well put together by Lisa Tarchak, Patricia Fox, and Tal Yarden, They are a little lengthy, but they’re relevant and serve the piece well. A clever, potent soundtrack also plays (compiled by Bowers). During these transitions you get the privilege of watching Bowers put on the wig or other prop the next character will wear, and a nice feeling inside that you are about to be entertained some more.