Corrections or additions?

This article by Simon Saltzman was prepared for the October 3,

2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Off-Broadway: `Homecoming’

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

Homecoming, Westside Theater, 407 West 43rd Street, New

York. Tickets $45. Tele-Charge at 800-432-7250 or 212-239-6200. Plays

only on Monday nights.

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