Corrections or additions?
This article by Simon Saltzman was prepared for the October 3,
2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
You could say that Lauren Weedman’s one actor,
autobiographical 90-minute play starring herself —
— is about her identity crises as a teenager. Adopted as an
Lauren lets us know she is growing up rather uneventfully in your
conventionally functional, middle-American family. Except for the
fact that grandmother harbors suspicions that she might have been
dropped on her head as a newborn, and her condescending older sister
Lisa keeps reminding her that she has two moms, the "real"
one and this one, Lauren is otherwise content with her family. She
even has a special fondness for the grumpy grandma and the sister,
who can say, "I love you" and "Is that my sweater?"
in a single breath.
Except for her irrepressible urge to tell everyone at school that
she is adopted, Lauren has only one request from her alternately flaky
and fanatic mother — to get a picture of her "B.M." (birth
mother) to keep in a drawer to look at every once in a while. It’s
not only that request that sets the eventually cooperative Sharon
on an undercover mission with an "A.D." (assistant detective)
to find Lauren’s birth mother, but that Lauren is suddenly enrolling
in Hebrew school, joining the Black Student Union, and dating an
Lauren’s pursuit of her cultural roots, an invitation for actor Lauren
to embroider her narrative with Italian, Irish, Jewish, and
dialectics, is humorously balanced by her mother’s attendance at group
therapy sessions for adopted children and a visit to the adoption
Blonde, petite, and energetic, Weedman has devised a solo piece in
which she embraces the quirks and mannerisms of her invariably
characters. That her monologue, replete with danced intervals, never
seems self-serving but universal in its scope, says a lot about this
minimally-trained, but naturally compelling actor. Weedman does what
every playwright aspires to do: create characters that live, interact,
and make us believe in them. As her characters weave their way through
her adventure to discovery, there is a sense that Weedman has made
this a soul-satisfying tour de force.
The play, directed with great latitude and exactitude by Maryann
is both touching without being maudlin, and funny without pandering
for easy laughs — though there are plenty along the way. Buffed
and polished over the past three years, "Homecoming" was
performed at Seattle Repertory Theater, Contemporary Theater, and
Empty Space Theater, as well as a workshop run at the Westbeth Theater
Center. "Homecoming" will certainly have a special resonance
for those who are adopted, but will also entertain those who simply
enjoy a good (true) story, well told and well acted.
Three stars. You won’t feel cheated.
— Simon Saltzman
York. Tickets $45. Tele-Charge at 800-432-7250 or 212-239-6200. Plays
only on Monday nights.
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