Double vision

Double Occupancy (two solo one-acts)

Written and performed by Sidse Ploug Soerensen
Fault: Hitch
Written and performed by Wendy Herlich
Directed by Virginia Scott
Produced by Wendy Herlich, Sidse Ploug Soerensen and Marc Jones
TBG Arts Center
Non union production (closed)
Review by Michael D. Jackson

A very enjoyable evening of solo performance work came in the form of Double Occupancy. The performance comprised two one-acts, beginning with Bodhichitta, written and performed by Sidse Ploug Soerensen. The piece explored three different delusional women. The humor in the piece came chiefly from the three characters’ unalterable belief in their abilities, while revealing how inept they were in reality. One woman is intent on adopting Indian orphans. She is unable to host a successful karaoke night fundraiser on behalf of the orphans. Another character, Cookie, was kidded as a child by her father that she was “such an actress.” Cookie takes this to mean that she should pursue an acting career rather than temper an overly dramatic personality. Cookie tells us of her drama-school experiences, performs her interpretive dances for us and exhibits herself as yet another delusional person, clueless to the realities of her life. The third character makes life plans by the Zodiac and aspires to be a writer. She is able to excuse her publishing shortcomings by the shift of the planets. Eventually the three women come together as Cookie organizes a benefit in collaboration with the two other women and each character gets a small taste of personal achievement. It is a happy ending of sorts, and the actress was able to give a comic performance while allowing us to sympathize with her subjects and root for their small success. The characters were nicely delineated in manner, voice and simple costume changes, and the piece was filled with variety and a good sense of pace.

Faulty: Hitch was concerned with a woman who is obsessed with getting a perfect score on the SAT. When she does, she laminates the test with the winning score and keeps it on her person to show anyone at a moment’s notice. This is an extremely eccentric character who has difficulty relating to others. Her self-worth is based solely on her test scores, for how else, she wonders, can she assess herself? She meets a nice fellow on a cruise and they share a table at dinner. The evening goes well, even after displaying her test-score obsession, and the two dance the night away. The next day she is doubtful of his true interest in her and stands up a breakfast date to hide in a lifeboat and contemplate her life. She has a revealing and humorous conversation with her inner self before getting knocked unconscious from a shuffleboard accident. She wakes up in a hospital with her estranged son by her side. Wendy Herlich brought the quirky character to life with entertaining results, and the character’s final analysis was touching.

Director Virginia Scott made good use of a small space, using the theater to maximum potential. Carter Edwards designed lights and sound with the sound aspect enhancing the plays well. No credit was given for costumes, but the design was thoughtful and went a long way to defining character. The two plays complemented each other nicely and made for a solid tour de force for both actresses.

Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Set: 0
Costumes: 2
Lighting: 0/Sound: 2

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Copyright 2006 Michael D. Jackson