Not really a play...but it is theatre
by Jim Murchison
I have a confession to make. I am not now, nor have I ever been a woman. I am a little embarrassed that I have had no experience as a woman, as I feel a woman should be writing this review. My mother, my sister and my grandmother were all women. I blinked one day and my two daughters became young women. I have always been an admirer of women. Those are my only credentials, so they will have to do.
I don’t always like 1 person shows, because I feel they would be better staged with an ensemble. This show could only be done as a 1 person show by 1 person. It is 100 % Sandra Shamas, so it is entirely appropriate that it be performed by Sandra Shamas.
It is as intimate and honest as a conversation between two people across a kitchen table.
The staging is beyond simple. The set is a stool and a chair. In a bold and brilliant stroke the creative team has placed a glass of water in the middle of the stool. This ensures that Ms. Shamas is not afflicted with dry throat. Another good choice is to keep the lights on for the entire performance. This allows the audience to not only hear, but also see Sandra.
Wits End III, love life is not really a play; but it is theatre. The earliest form of theatre is storytelling. Shamas speaks of her emotional, physical and spiritual journey from schoolgirl to menopausal woman with absolute frankness. She also talks to you in a way that you don’t even notice her performing. She pauses, talks to you, laughs; asks, “Where was I?” and basically carries on. Certainly she does things and speaks of things in a skilfully insightful and hilarious way, but more like that person that lit up the room at the party or that old friend that you’re meeting up with again after not seeing for a couple of years.
It is as intimate and honest as a conversation between two people across a kitchen table. It is also the riskiest, bravest, gutsiest interaction between performer and audience there is. There aren’t that many performers that can bare themselves so fully and make it look so easy.
Wits End III, love life really is about adapting to life and its changes, as much as about being a woman. It is an autobiographical look at growth, both figuratively and literally. It examines humanity frankly and honestly from a very personal perspective. Most importantly it’s funny. For everyone that has been a woman, aspired to be a woman, loved a woman or known a woman, this show is for you.