Drama queen, dharma queen
Sacred Is The NEW Profane
Written and performed by Cheryl Harnest
Directed by Jeremy Bloom
Midtown International Theatre Festival (www.midtownfestival.org)
Stage Left Studios,
Review by Michael D. Jackson
Cheryl Harnest has developed a one person show exploring a breakdown after having been on antidepressants for 13 years. The actress depicts her search for enlightenment by way of an Indigenous Australian Shaman, Buddhism, New Age revelations and finally the real tonic––teaching theatre to inner city kids. Overwhelmed by the contemporary atrocities of life––depression, war and George Bush––she finds her breakthrough in accepting that she cannot change what is and can find peace in acceptance itself.
Directed with a clean and clear touch by Jeremy Bloom, Harnest spends most of her show standing in a half filled fish tank. She splashes around, dissolves seltzer tablets, and performs around it in every conceivable way. Finally, she tries to drown herself, throwing her head fully into the tank. However, her desire to live is too great and she emerges gasping and breathing in new life while expounding upon rejuvenation in a life-affirming dance.
Harnest’s spirited performance means much more than what she is exploring––she offers no answers to life’s problems and we aren’t even sure that she’s conquered her demons. But, a bright eyed enthusiasm for the good in life shines through the discouragement and her energy is infectious. The arc of the character doesn’t make a satisfying drama, but the actress gives an entertaining performance.
Copyright 2008 by Michael D. Jackson
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