A Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Stalls" & "I Had A Pen So I Had to Write Something"

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note: entire contents copyright 2003 by Larry Stark

"I Had A Pen So I Had to Write Something"


by Jane Beachy
Directed by Justin B. Dilley

Lighting Designed by Darren Evans
Scenic Design by Erin Dilley
Technical Director Justin Peters
Stage Hand Kara Helgren
Publicity Designer Neal Bijlani
House Manager Kristin Spalding
Stage Manager Laurel Aylesworth

Woman 1..........Jocelyn Neptune
Woman 2.............Monica Stein
Woman 3..........Lorina Lipscomb

The Turnstyle Theatre Project has showcased a wealth of talents and abilities in several directions in these three presentations. "The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek" is a straight, if densely interesting play by Naomi Wallace; "I Had A Pen So I Had to Write Something" is a dance piece; and "Stalls" by Jane Beachy is an original piece, less "a play" than a sort of theater-etude fashioned from grafitti harvested from the walls of women's rooms across the world. Each has a different turn of style, yet in each case solid performances and obvious professional dedication win the day. And they will do all three again this week-end. All in all, an excellent first turn for Turnstyle...

The setting for "Stalls" is a Women's Room, with scrawled-over walls. In a break after Monica Stein's dance piece the audience is provided with markers and encouraged to write their own additions to them. Once the show begins, it feels like a musical/theatrical/choreographical fugue for three very different women --- whose bits of free-verse intertwine, many repeated as rhythmic accents, as though they were a string trio. There are calls for lesbian pride and caustic castrating rants, shouted anthems, pithy comments and moans of frustrated protest. The woman come and go, stalking mechanically, proudly, indifferently --- never quite conversing, never completely alone. They mime standard toilet actions, spending a lot of time fascinated by themselves in a non-existent mirror above a suggested sink.

This show probably owes as much of its crisply swift pace and its interweave of controlled chaos to Director Justin B. Dilley (who has a role in "Trestle") as it does to the three ladies who brought it to life. The show fairly crackles with motion and wit.

"I Had A Pen So I Had to Write Something"

Choreographed by Monica Stein

Danced by:
Erica Atwood, Kara Jasinski, Torina Webb

This piece opens the show, and uses the three toilets that will be part of "Stalls" both imaginatively and expressively. They are stood on, sat on, sprawled around, substituted for dance barres. The stage is small, yet never seems cramped as the three women, serially or separately or in unison run several series' of gestures before occasionally breaking into individual postures, tableaux, gestures. The style is serious "barefoot modern" to contemporary popular music.
Obviously, my forte is not dance criticism, but Monica Stein's piece does in movement terms just about the same things Jane Beachy's "Stalls" does later with words.

All in all, I had a ball...


"The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek" (1,2 & 8 August)
"Stalls" & "I Had A Pen So I Had to Write Something" (2 & 9 August)
Actors' Workshop, 327 Summer Street, BOSTON MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide