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One Woman Show


Liz Kingsman in One Woman Show. Photos by Dylan Woodley.




One Woman Show, written and performed by Liz Kingsman, arrives at its New York run after a series of accolades abroad, including a "sold-out Olivier Award-nominated West End" run. After experiencing its irreverent and exciting 70-minute rollercoaster ride, I can with certainty say the show lives up to the hype. I have not laughed that much at a play in a long time; for that matter, I haven't laughed that much over any media in a long time. Using obliquely referential satire, the piece both pokes fun at the troupes of the "one-woman show" genre and offers innovative ideas about solo storytelling.


The writing of this show is layered and nuanced, a style often hard to translate into comedy. However, the clever and multifaceted nature of the writing ended up furthering the show's themes. The script follows two timelines. One story starts when the actor, Liz Kingsman (or a representational characterization of her), comes onstage and addresses the audience directly. She says the performance tonight is being filmed for TV executives and to excuse the cameras. This address is interrupted by the voice of a stagehand asking about microphone and camera technical issues.


She later introduced the supposed "real narrative," which follows a woman who works an office job at a nonprofit in London, focusing on the ups and downs of her romantic life. The story is a witty parody that uses the insights of other characters to comment on the relatability of women who are messy, candidly sexually adventurous and don't have their lives together. All the while, this storyline continues to be interrupted by technical issues pertaining to the recording. In these interims, the character of the writer/performer delves into further meta-commentary about the pitfalls of creating solo theater and poking fun at one-woman shows.


The layers of comedy in the writing really become apparent towards the end when the two stories begin to overlap. In the emotional climax of the story within the story, the camera starts making distracting noises and movements, causing Kingsman to drop out of character. She laments not filming a good take of her obligatory third-quarter weepy storytelling benchmark. In the beginning, Kingsman spiraled about the show not going to plan and ultimately ended up fulfilling her own joke of the weepy darkness before the dawn moment. She then breaks down before the audience.


Another moment in the end that delivered a punchline for a joke baked deep within the levels of the script comes in the form of an outrageous dance duet. In the beginning, Kingsman speaks about how solo theatre is easy to produce because of its small casts and low technical needs. However, the technical elements and apparent cast size grow over the course of the show; props, lighting and sound help land bit after crazy bit. The show's stagehands prove to be (albeit relatively uninvolved) cast members. The show's finale builds to a man entering in an incredible leafy dance costume and performing an elaborate routine with Kingsman. The audience is truly kept guessing and on the edge of their seats with this performance.


Not only is the script genius but the technical effects enhance the comedy. The lighting, sound and acting all shine in this piece. All elements come together to create an experience that is totally unforgettable and unique.


Go see One Woman Show, you won't regret it.



"One Woman Show” Written and Performed by Liz Kingsman

Directed by Adam Brace Greenwich House Theater

27 Barrow Street, NY, NY https://onewomanshownyc.com/





 

Carmen! is a trans-multimedia artist specializing in playwriting, acting and crochet. Originally from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, they are currently based in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, returning to their Atlantic Oceanic roots. Their play Taking the Plunge has been performed at the Tank and the Chain off-Broadway and in the 2023 Fresh Fruit Festival slated this June. Carmen has also worked in front-of-house and technical positions for prominent theater organizations including New Dramatists, Portland Playhouse, Emursive and Future Proof. Carmen’s mission is to use play to create meaningful representation by and for underrepresented communities. For more information on Carmen! Follow them on socials @carmenacetosociety or check out www.carmenburbridge.info









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