Izzy Keel & Shannon Wolley Allison in Common Threads. Photo: Looking for Lilith

Common Threads: Interwoven Portraits of a Pandemic

Project Director: Shannon Woolley Allison
Film and in person content creators: Various ensemble members

A review by Kate Barry

Entire contents are copyright © 2021 by Kate Barry. All rights reserved.

As the Covid-19 pandemic grew over time, the phrase “stronger together” was repeated in speeches by Governor Andy Beshear, marketing and advertising campaigns, and basically, anywhere you turned, it seemed. Every guideline to social distance and stay at home in 2020 brought about unimaginable challenges, some which we as a society are still reeling from. Although there is a push to re-open and move on, the wounds from the pandemic are still fresh in our minds as we sort through this new landscape of masking and vaccinations. Looking For Lilith Theater Company has crafted a performance art piece based on real life stories shared in company story circles. Within the six diverse pieces of theater, the stories of hardships from the pandemic that kept us apart and yet also brought us closer.

The works range from literal interpretations, retellings, and artistic expression. Engaging and interactive, with film components and assorted media platforms, the creative ensemble behind the works embrace the content and present six beautifully formed pieces that show the wide range of emotions we all felt throughout the last two years. 

At its strongest, Could’ve combines movement work, meaningful phrases in repetition, and interpretation of grief, death, and traditions. Very well executed, Clare Hagan and Adama Abrahamson flow in the forefront with fabric; sometimes blanketed, at other times shrouded. Cleaning Closets and Finding Myself combines sound, movement, and video. Focusing on the clothes we wore during the pandemic and how the distinction between home and work quickly blurred. Izzy Keel and Shannon Woolley Allison bring levity and humor in a fashion show, complete with hats, dresses and a clever quip or two.

McDonald’s Fellowship offers a first-hand look at how the business closures affected bonds and friendships. In a wise move, the pertinent action of the piece occurs on stage. While the filmed segments move the story along, they felt only loosely related to the story. High School Reunion: Pandemic Style presents a zoom happy hour between high school friends. The natural pacing of realistic conversation helped this piece to really shine. With intimate details performed on stage, the strongest moments of this work lay in the cut away moments where individual actors (Tiera Bowman, Sara G.B. Canary, Emily Stewart, and Trina Fischer) dive into personal struggles with the repetition of the phrase “I wish I could tell them.”

The strongest pieces of Common Threads rely on one medium of performance. Ice Cream Vigil shows the bond between parent and child over ice cream. A sentimental short film, this coming of age story shows the same interaction in three phases of life. A simple act of sharing desert between mother and child grows into a ritual of comfort in terms of grief. Filling in the Holes is a simple movement piece of reflection and coping, and director Clare Hagan and audio creators Jennifer Thalman Kepler and Hilarie Spangler crafted a haunting piece of theater. Set in the dark, flashing lights match perfectly with sirens and sounds. This tense representation of stressors and pressures is something we all felt at one time during the Covid pandemic.

Prior to the show, Project Director Shannon Woolley Allison requested company and patrons gather to symbolically open the doors to Looking for Lilith Theater. She shared that the company lost two very important ensemble members in the two years since their last live in theater performance, “one to Cancer and one to Chile.” In a period of grief and heartbreak, Looking for Lilith has returned triumphantly to create something new and full of love. 

Common Threads: Interwoven Portraits of a Pandemic

November 12-20, 2021

Looking for Lilith Theater Company
MeX Theater at Kentucky Center
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!