Body Awareness at Theatre J took me to Shirley State College in Vermont, where Body Awareness week brings a male photographer, who takes photos of nude women, to stay with Joyce, her lover Phyllis and her son Jared. Phyllis finds the photos exploitative, while Joyce is intrigued by them and contemplates posing for Frank. In the meantime, Jared may have Aspberger's Syndrome and is not doing well at persuading people he doesn't. This is all much funnier than it sounds and it was both entertaining and provocative. I also want to particularly note the preformance of Adi Stein in the difficult role of Jared.
Red Hot Patriot: the Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins was, of course, a journey to Texas. Kathleen Turner played Ivins in what is almost a one-woman show. (There is a nerdy male assistant who silently pulls bulletins off the telex machine to hand to her.) There were some amusing anecdotes and some good lines, but the narrative line was weak. I wanted to know more about the two men Ivins loved and lost (one to a motorcycle accident, the other to Vietnam) and more about her relationships with other people in general. I also had some difficulty with the thickness of the Texas accent Turner put on, which was hard to understand at times. Overall, this was less satisfying than Holland Taylor's show about Ann Richards last year.
There was a local storytellers' concert on Saturday night, co-sponsored by Telling Moments, Voices in the Glen, and te Virginia Storytelling Alliance. The title was The Other F Words: Friendship, Fidelity and Foolishness. I'd say that only two of the six stories really drew on that theme, but it hardly matters. The show was enjoyable, with particularly strong performances by Janice Curtis Greene and Noa Baum. And it was definitely a relief that there was a full house. All in all, it was definitely a success. I was particularly pleased when a couple of people asked me at intermission about how to find out more about storytelling. (I looked official since I had a volunteer nametag, having been an usher.)
Finally, Sunday afternoon took me back to Texas as I saw The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at Signature Theatre. I admit to skepticism about this revival, since the score is bland country-pop and the book has some gaping holes. But I enjoyed seeing it, largely because of some fine performances. Sherri L. Edelen as Miss Mona and her real-life husband, Thomas Adrian Simpson as Ed Earl Dodd, had excellent chemistry. Tracy Lynn Overa was right on the mark as Doatsy Mae, the small-town waitress with big ambitions. I was also impressed with Karma Camp's choreography, especially for "The Aggie Song," although some of the dance moves were decidedly anachronistic. I'm quibbling if I wish there was more back story about Jewel (ably played by Nova Y. Payton) or that the futures of the two new girls, especially farm-girl Shy who has run away from an abusive father, were explored in more depth. In other words, the show is slight, but diverting.