Cassanova Was A Woman
nytheatre.com review by Joe Kurtz
August 25, 2011
Cassanova Was a Woman is a play about Cassanova, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Cuban actress living in New York City. She is married, but is having some troubles after ten years together. She has a day job doing morning traffic reports, and does whatever theater she can get her hands on.
A wrench is lobbed into her existence when she meets Lola during production of a show and learns that she is a lesbian. Cassanova then realizes that she has feelings for Lola, and, after some courting, they end up seeing each other. Of course, her husband doesn't take too kindly to this change of heart, and calamity ensues.
As Cassanova explores her new-found lesbian tendencies, she starts seeing the figment of her attraction to males as represented by a mostly-naked guy hanging around and talking to her. She sees a therapist and struggles with the idea of being bisexual. Eventually, she gets a job down in Florida, and has to visit her family that lives down there with mixed reactions. Also, while in Florida, Cassanova explores just how hard it is to maintain a long-distance relationship with Lola, especially when she's attracted to both sexes.
This play feels like a sitcom. The characters are all a bit larger than life, and the performances all seem to feel a little self-conscious. There are plenty of one-liners and schtick to go around for everybody. Unfortunately, this general attitude served to disconnect me from the characters. It was hard to ever really connect when I could see them constantly setting me up for the punchline. Sitcoms are generally only a half-an-hour, which is just about right. This play was two hours and ten minutes, which is a little too long (one can only take so much schtick).
All that being said, the performances were tight, fast-paced and together; the production ran very smoothly; and I can't say I didn't have a laugh every once in a while.