In the opening of Lies, Anger and Forgiveness, a young woman bids her family in Rome goodbye and goes to LA in search of opportunity. She wheels a suitcase and stands in front of a large travel trunk, the only scenery on stage. Her parting words are, “Try to forgive me and I’ll do the same.” in the next scene, she visits a hypnotherapist, seeking to give up smoking. The therapist is an Italian gentleman. Barbara Saba’s portrayal of the doctor is hilarious. As herself, Saba also has some great moments of comedy, delivered with sharp sarcasm.
The therapist invites Saba to go into a childhood memory. She climbs into the open trunk and sinks down as the therapist counts her back from ten. When she speaks, Saba is about three years old. Her narration starts perfectly; her voice is small and young, her words childish. She reveals that her parents fight often. But as she describes more about her parents’ conflicts, she starts to analyze them, and the vocabulary she uses is beyond that of a small child. This takes the audience out of the scene a bit.
During the therapy session, Saba realizes that her smoking habit is a stand-in for her ambivalence toward her parents. The therapist gives her more questions than answers, but she seems grateful for some forward movement. When an event compels her to contact her family, she finds herself between angst and forgiveness. After the hypnosis, she finds herself on the sidewalk holding a cigarette; she acknowledges that without a reason to keep holding a grudge – there’s no point in lighting it.
It’s a clever parallel. Telling her story via the hypnotherapy session gives Saba’s solo show about family conflict a fresh perspective.
"Lies, Anger and Forgiveness"
Performed and Written by Barbara Saba
Directed by Debra De Liso
October 26, 2022
The 13th United Solo Festival
October 4- November 20, 2022
410 West 42nd (btw 9th and 10th Avenue)
STEPHANIE EAGAN is a professional writer based in NJ. A fan of every type of live performance imaginable, from taiko drumming to political performance art, she travels the tri-state area and beyond in search of music, art, theater, and excellent coffee.