Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Chopping" / "Traveling Naked"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Larry Stark


"Chopping"

Written and Performed by Magdalena Gomez

Directed by Dyana Kimball
Lighting Design by Karen Perlow
Stage Manager Meg Boone

"Traveling Naked"

by Deborah Lake Fortson

Directed by Dyana Kimball
Lighting Design by Karen Perlow
Stage Manager Meg Boone

Ava........................Debra Wise
Guy...................Doug Marsden

This is the very last week-end you will be able to see two stunningly original, surprising pieces of theater --- a subtly insightful personal monologue performed by playwright Magdalena Gomez called "Chopping" (which is mis-pronounced "Shopping" by us Gringos), and a rippling two-character one-act comedy called "Traveling Naked" by Deborah Lake Fortson. Phone this number for tickets: 1(617)332-0546. Call it Now. Tell them "Larry sent me."

Mina, the persona playwright Magdalena Gomez inhabits, is a restless comparison-shopper about everything. On the tall, narrow, colorfully lit set there is the large oval frame of a mirror down stage-left in which she frequently examines herself just as she would in a fitting-room, and lists of possibilities ripple through her restless mind. She has a comparative opinion about everything: languages (Yiddish versus German, Spanish, Italian or French for romance) 'chopping'-bags (she shows half a dozen, settles on the stolidly efficient basic brown) lovers, sex-partners, and lives.

The restless ripple of her mind flits through time and memories with a zigzag fluidity, speaking directly to the audience, responding when her flip, subtle insights trigger giggles and guffaws. Hers is a highly intellectual stand-up routine, and she takes time to admire her own awareness, the sharp critical distinctions she makes about everything. She reveals herself, and even more than herself. With such a knowing, confident individual, her choices are always irresistibly correct.

Structurally, Deborah Lake Fortson's "Traveling Naked" is a perfectly ordinary little one-act play: Ava sheds her robe and just as she's settled into the warm, sudsy bathwater, a man barges through the door. That's a textbook-example five-finger exercise, right? Wrong! The man's really her husband Guy, he wants them to move away, to build themselves a house on a plot she once thought interesting. But she's tied up with a job right now --- and pregnant.

That's still not special --- except that the dialogue is quick, intense, and alive. Except that these two easily slip into role-play games, becoming "Swamp-Woman" or "Vampire" and giddily going along with the gag. Their argument is as intense as their obvious love for one another, and it is a delight to see two fearless actors bite into every phrase and surprising nuance with lively eagerness. Debra Wise and Doug Marsden respond to each other's wriggly twists, never giving up their individuality. Marsden does things with his expressions and Wise with her toes that must be seen to be believed.

There is nudity here (have you ever taken a bath with your clothes on?) and there is intimacy here (there are ultimately two naked characters in that bathtub) but there is also live, lively love and controversey floating in admiring affection. And there is a surprise at the tail-end of this play that will, I guarantee, knock your socks off.

Phone this number for tickets: 1(617)332-0546. Call it Now. Tell them "Larry sent me". There will be two performances on Sunday, but say that you'll take Standing-Room if you have to. This is Not a pair of performances you should miss. No One should.

Love,
===Anon.


"Chopping" / "Traveling Naked" (1 - 4 March)
Boston Women On Top Festival
Boston Playwrights' Theatre, 949 Commomnwealth Avenue, BOSTON
1(617)332-0546


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |