BIG GIRL, LITTLE WORLD
nytheatre.com review by Debbie Hoodiman
O.K. I’ll gush. Can’t Sleep
Productions’ Big Girl, Little World is one of the best original
plays I’ve ever seen.
August 15, 2003
In a role that could have been written for her, Andrea Alton plays Big Girl, an overweight recluse who wears sweatshirts bearing motivational sayings and converses with her hero, a self-help guru/life coach named Claire, through her television. Her "little world" is the apartment she hasn’t left in months. The play takes place on a single day when everything changes for her.
Although I thought that a subplot involving Big Girl’s roommate seemed over-simplified compared to the rest of the play, overall Big Girl, Little World is an intelligent, hilarious, and (despite the danger of falling into clich� with this type of material) complex and original piece of theater.
Alton is funny, energetic, sincere, and unusual, and more than delivers the emotional climax of the piece. Jesse Wilson, as the quirky and scary food delivery guy, is a marvelous actor who stands out even in this talented group. Maura Knowles, both on video and live, is perfect as Claire. Kimberly Prentice and Ray Crisara, as Big Girl’s roommate and her roommate’s boyfriend respectively, do a great job with their roles. Video sequences edited by Peter Kendall and recorded by Doug Ladendorf are clever and funny. But, the real star of this play is Jay Duffer's script.
The playful (yes, playful) script, which deals with themes such as suicide, abortion, sex, mental illness, fear, and murder, includes nursery rhymes, witty word play, recurring jokes, suspense, comedy, and heart. Nothing is simple, and because there are several possible, plausible outcomes to Big Girl’s situation, I enjoyed not knowing what was going to happen.