Tamara Dearing & Jan Louden. Photo: Bill Brymer.

A Feminine Ending

By Sarah Treem
Directed by Rachel Vidal

Review by Kate Barry

Entire contents are copyright © 2018 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.

What does it take to live an extraordinary life? A young oboe player wistfully yearns for success as a composer with eagerness for things to fall into place even as they begin to unravel. A Feminine Ending melts music, harmony, and gender into a delicate yet sympathetic portrait of a young musician. Theater [502] has staged an intimate production about the passion needed when obstacles stand in the way of dreams and what matters most.

The play focuses on oboist Amanda Blue, played with gentle quirkiness by Tamara Dearing. Her monologue delivery is conversational with a touch of relatable awkwardness as she expresses career struggles with music terminology. Dearing carries the play through Amanda’s personal highs and lows, from hooking up with a peer who is on the rise to stardom, returning to her hometown, or awaiting the results of a symphonic competition. With this performance, Dearing, who is a musician in her own right, has some fun teaching us a little bit about music theory as bits are interspersed throughout the piece; most notably, a playful explanation of harmony within an argument between her parents. Dearing absolutely shines as Amanda struggles to move forward in a male-dominated art form. Her delivery of Amanda’s “Open Door” dream is honest and vulnerable as she begins to buckle under the pressure with doubts.

Although this play might seem like a one-woman show with supporting cast interspersed here and there, these supporting roles are very strong. As Jack, Amanda’s star-on-the-rise fiancé, Cody Alexander proves he is not just a pretty face as he struggles with the reality of fame in contrast to his sheltered trust fund upbringing. As Billy, a lover from Amanda’s past, Louis Robert Thompson presents a boy-next-door romantic air of possibility only to be crushed in moments of sobriety. Thompson plays well in the shift of Amanda’s perspective as he moves from endearingly flirtatious with his knowledge of linguistic rules to cautiously awkward with next day realizations.

Jan Louden resonates as Kim, Amanda’s mother. Unhappy and unsettled, Louden’s portrayal of a woman who “never got what (she) wanted with just a smile” is spirited as she schemes for independence. Providing contrast as Amanda’s father, David, Sean Childress is a man left behind and moving on. His subdued emotional processing and seeming acceptance of Kim’s independence provide bold opposition moments later.

Nearly reaching a running time of two hours and billed with no intermission along with somewhat sluggish set changes, the action attempts to keep a steady pace nonetheless. This little play delightfully pops along as Amanda experiences her misadventures on the path to something extraordinary.

A Feminine Ending

September 28, 29, October 1, 5, 6, 12, & 13 @ 8:00pm
October 7 & 14 @ 2:00pm

Theater [502]
Kentucky Center for the Arts
501 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202


Kate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for LEO Weekly and TheatreLouisville.com as well. Thanks for reading!