A LIFE IN HER DAY
nytheatre.com review by Saviana Stanescu
Physical comedienne Hilary Chaplain
has worked as both an actress and a clown since the mid 1980s,
performing her original solo and group work in the U.S., Canada, and
Europe. An original mixture of Charlie Chaplin, Lucille Ball, Barbra
Streisand and Giulietta Massina, this warm and witty performer is
attractive yet funny through her spontaneous attitudes and intelligent
August 15, 2003
The humor of A Life in Her Day—written and performed by Chaplain, directed by Patricia Buckley—can paradoxically be found in the bitterness of the everyday life of an ordinary Jewish woman. A story of loneliness, violence, domestic betrayal and abuse is told in a delightfully light and clever way, with the help of a vertical bed, a gravity-defying nightstand, a glued chocolate box in the shape of a red heart, a stuffed pet, a breakfast table, a bowl of marshmallows, two pink cakes, a roll of paper towels and a dummy-man. It’s amazing how suggestively these very few objects are used in the performance space (Under St. Marks) and how they are able to communicate a variety of meanings according to the artist’s intentions. For instance the paper towels ingeniously serve to build props such as: three sets of twin babies, a blanket, three breasts, a wedding veil, a ceremony carpet, etc.
It’s the humor of the recognizable small gestures, the external laughter, and the inner sob triggered by sad common situations presented in a funny way that give A Life in Her Day its particular strength: it’s actually the human tragedy hidden inside comedy wrappings. Chaplain’s character interacts with the audience (for example she gives her paper towel "babies" to a spectator to baby-sit them), reacts spontaneously to their responses, and skillfully attracts them into the game, making them part of the piece.
I strongly recommend that everyone go and see Hilary Chaplain’s one-woman-and-a-few-props-show, this wonderful wacky and quirky story of you, or of your cousin, your aunt, your girlfriend, your ex-wife, your mother, your neighbor…