Lipstick thespian


By Christine Mosere
Directed by Trace Peters
Woman Seeking...
New York Fringe Festival
Non-union production (closed)
Review by Doug DeVita

Christine Mosere is a charming young(ish) actress with a warm, engaging stage presence. She is also a defiantly feminine lesbian who wants it all -- love, acceptance, commitment, children, career, and the right to be who she is without compromise.

And she has turned all of this into Femme, an autobiographical showcase that mistakes bubbly self-discovery for compelling theatre. In her one-hour salute to her own sexual awakening, she quite openly and humorously discusses her lack of enthusiasm while planning her wedding to her long-time boyfriend, the pains of childbirth, the thrilling first kiss from another woman, the endless lying to herself and others and the harm that it did, her gradual sexual awakening, and the exultant realization that she could be as feminine as she wanted to be (three different recordings of "I Enjoy Being a Girl" played during that scene), while still being attracted to masculine women.

All of this is played out as a series of monologs interspersed with patches of dialog between Mosere and her on-stage conscience (a stiff, flat performance from Ana Jacome), and while there are a few salient observations made in Femme ("I am fighting to be who I am while I am fighting to be who I "should" be), as a whole the piece smacks of theatre as shared therapy. There is nothing in it that is at all startlingly different from any other coming out, coming of age story; what made it all bearable was Mosere's disarming, ingenuous belief in herself and her project. The naiveté was intoxicating.

Trace Peters (Mosere's partner) directed without any sense of theatrical flair. Admittedly, Peters had never directed before; she had a lot to learn about how to use a stage effectively, how to pace a show, and how to execute and sustain an overall production concept. The lighting was dreadful -- the performers continuously wafted in and out of dark spots all evening long, apparently not able to even find their light (the program thanked Kelly Lynn Harrison for helping with them). There was no set, and the (many) costumes (uncredited) were about the only things in the evening that were not left in the closet. And for all the posing about femininity, Mosere's outfits weren't all that, well, Elle Woods-ish feminine.

Sitting on a park bench, or in a comfy chair in a local Starbucks, Christine Mosere telling her tale might make for a delightfully intimate afternoon conversation. But no matter how amazing her discoveries are to herself, they just ain't theatre.

Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 0
Acting: 1
Sets: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 0

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Copyright 2003 Doug DeVita