DramaNew YorkReview

The Woman Who Was Me – TheaterLab, New York

Writer: Peter Grandbois

Director:  Jeremy Williams

Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers

Convergences Theatre Collective’s latest installment, The Woman Who Was Me at TheaterLab, is marketed with heavy feminist tones. Coming into the intimate whitewashed space, the room reverberates with potential. Upon Liz Stanton’s entrance, the piece takes off with high energy, moving through an expressive, not-exactly-linear story about a woman’s sexual reawakening after a kiss from a stranger. The language is heightened and poetic, driving a dreamlike plot forward. Stanton’s energy and focus carry the action well, though there are occasional moments when the performance pushes the language a bit too hard, causing both to feel overwrought.

Against a backdrop of simplistic design and innovative staging techniques, a plot unfolds of a woman who has lost her sense of desirability and seeks to reclaim it. It is worth noting that a play billed as a woman’s story is written and directed by a man. As such, the narrative hinges upon the male perspective of a woman’s mid-life crisis. Amid the lovely language and rather complex metaphors, there is a tangible disconnect between the play’s intent and the experiential understanding of the writer. 

Perhaps the most notable takeaway from this performance is not in the narrative Act I, but in the post-show discussion billed as Act II. This reviewer typically does not join post-show discussions and prefers to allow the show to speak for itself, but as the discussion was billed as Act II, it was taken into account as the remainder of the play. One of the issues raised early in the discussion was the disconnect inherent when a male-identifying writer constructs a female-driven narrative, and the energy with which that feedback was received was incredibly negative. The irony of the immediate dismissal of such an assertion is that the title of this segment was “Women’s Voices, Women’s Choices,” but there is no denying the division when a woman points out the problematic nature of the piece being led by men and receives vehement arguments in return.

Runs until 11 June 2017

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