Tonight I was invited to the preview of Talking With by Jane Martin. It is being presented by Aurora Theatre this Sunday at Grappa's Cellar at 2pm and 8pm, 200HKD. Before there was The Vagina Monologues there was this collection of women's monologues so I was excited to see what all the fuss was about.
If you saw Coffee and Cigarettes back in October you saw two pieces performed from this play. The monologue French Fries was performed by Faith Lawson who is now nominated for a Best Bit Role in the HK Arts Awards so obviously she left an impression. Miss Lawson will not be in this production as she has sadly left HK to return to NYC. Jenny Hann who performed Rodeo in October will also be in this new production but will be taking on a triple threat role as both an actress, co-producer and costume designer. If you liked what you saw in October you'll love what you'll see Sunday!
Let's start with Hann's fab costume designs. I thought the costumes were well conceived for the characters. The best one hands down was the patchwork doll outfit worn for Scraps. I loved it and Lara Genovese looked adorable in it! I have to give Ms. Genovese a serious applause for her performance tonight in her monologue because I think this is the best thing I have seen her in as an actress. We normally think of her as a set designer in town but she is also a very talented actress. She was endearing, sweet and her movement was very whimsical. This was my favorite piece in the show tonight.
I also enjoyed the short shorts of Jenny Hann's Twirler and her crazy eyes as I'm going to call them. I give any white actress serious props for being able to say the N word without wincing. It is something I'm not able to do, so hats off to you missy. Also the shorts are amazing.
The most touching monologue belongs to Aisling McDonnell and her reclusive hermit in Lamps. She really does pull on you heart strings with her ability to transform into a character that is likeable but terribly broken as a human being. I hope she records it, I smell digital audition piece!
I didn't particularly care for the end of the play, Marks performed by Brandy Stearn. It was a very subtle piece and since it followed a very loud and guttural performance by Nicole Garbellini West it felt underwhelming. The arrangement of the plays is predetermined by the author so I'm just puzzled as to why Martin chose such a quiet moment to end on.
If you're a person who enjoys feminist writing it is definitely worth your time and your money to go see on Sunday! The cast and crew put a lot of hard work into it. The scene changes do seem a little long but with 3 days before opening I'm sure they'll speed up by the time the show starts!
The problems I mainly have with this show have nothing to do with the wonderful performances by the cast or the hands on direction by Jonathan Brantley but with the text. I think the script makes it hard for you as an audience member to see the play as a whole rather than a bunch of parts. I loved the individual pieces but I'm struggling to see what the entire play has to say about women. All these women have in common is that something bad has happened to them and they've had to make a tough choice. I'm still mulling my feelings on the play but I know one thing the cast worked really hard to put on a good show!
Tickets are 200 dollars at Grappa's Cellar on Sunday at 2pm and 8pm. You can get you tickets at the door and your tickets include a drink! YUM! Due to language and adult content would not recommend it for children under the age of 16!