The cast of Women On Fire.
Women on Fire
By Irene O’Garden
Directed by Angela Miller
Review by Annette Skaggs
Entire contents are copyright © 2015 Annette Skaggs. All rights reserved.
The evening started off with a woman, Trude, dressed in 1960’s garb talking on the phone about photography, or specifically her project photographing contemporary women, and she also seems to be upset by the fact that her studio burned down as she was away on said project.
After Trude left the stage I was a little confused as to what this opening monologue had to do with, well, anything. I’m happy to say I figured it out. I’ll share that with you in a little while.
The stage is set with several steps that lead to platforms in front of a white backdrop and several props strewn about; simple and effective staging that provides a table for each woman arriving onstage in front of rear projections. Some pose, some dance; the actor who preceded them – passing a torch as it were, greets each one. Some of them made sense, others, not so much. Janelle Hunnicutt and Tiffany Smith, thank you for the brief American Sign Language of John Lennon’s Imagine during your scene change. That was a nice bit of imagery.
We are introduced to women who all have a story to share; and some of it funny, but most of it heartbreaking. Take the story of Miriam (deliciously played by Carol Dines) who extols the joys and hunting instincts of shopping to a family member as she enjoys martini after martini. It is light-hearted and comical, while earlier we listened to a dying Lydia (Carol Massey Hatt) talking into a tape recorder confessing how crappy a mother she was to her daughter and asking forgiveness.
Some of the dialogue was tedious and quite uninteresting, to put it bluntly, but these problems seemed to be inherent in the text and were not through any fault of the actors or the director, Angela Miller. All of the actresses did the best with the material.
Jane Mattingly’s Zatz was energetic and youthful and she kept her place even while wardrobe malfunctions fell about her. I don’t know if it was a choice for her character or she was nervous, but Janelle Hunnicutt’s Kalisha was often unintelligible. When it was understandable she was the symbol of a proud African-American Woman who can do anything and she was funny.
Perhaps the best of the bunch was Rena Cherry Brown’s Clover, who goes into a fantastic discussion about the pitfalls of the malicious and cutthroat world of advertising. Even though it seemed as if she was veering away from the central point at times, she reeled you back in and before you know it she delivers a bombshell of an ending. I was on the edge if my seat.
By the end, my confusion about the opening monologue was replaced by an understanding of the photography as a device to transition from character to character.
All in all, despite some slow pacing in parts, the show on the whole is full of stories about women that we often run into each and every day, we just don’t always know what their story might be. Here, we have a snapshot.
I believe that you will want to peruse this photo album and learn about the lives of some extraordinary Women on Fire.
Women On Fire
June 12-28, 2015 @ 7:30pm
At The Henry Clay Theatre
604 Third Street
Louisville, KY 40202
[box_light]Annette Skaggs is a heavily involved Arts Advocate here in Louisville and freelance professional opera singer who has performed throughout Europe, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Boulder, Little Rock, Peoria, Chicago, New York and of course Louisville. Aside from her singing career she has been a production assistant for Kentucky Opera, New York Opera and Northwestern University. She has a 25+ year knowledge of the Classical Arts.[/box_light]