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Madeleine Russell

Losing It

Where: The Point (1013 7th St. NW)

Remaining Performances: Wednesday, July 21 at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 24 at 2:15 p.m. Sunday, July 25 at 3:45 p.m.

They Say: “This is not a feminist play.  Okay, this is a feminist play.  No, this is NOT a feminist play” according to the program.  They also say:  Meet Mary, a recent college graduate and, we discover, a virgin. She has just started her first new job. She has just become very close with the HR guy, Ben. She has also just insulted her boss’s breasts. Adulthood is off to a great start, but where does Mary fit in? Maybe virgins have all the fun? Follow Mary through the headaches, heartaches and accident-prone blunders of a new job, new life, and an exciting new love.

Dee’s Take: ‘Losing It’ is a one-woman show concerned with how to define female adulthood.  Madeleine Russell, the show’s writer and star, grapples with the question, and postulates: Perhaps sex is a part of being a grown up; or maybe its dealing with a difficult boss; or contending with one’s own general ability to screw stuff up.

Though a well-written play, the performance amounts to a vagina monologue hijacked by a self-obsessed virgin who takes it on an hour-long tour of blundering mistakes that become less and less endearing as time progresses.  Mary starts the show with a rant.  The first scene amounts to an over-eager portrayal of an aggressive moment lacking rhythm. Much like the rest of the show.

Russell’s portrayal lacks variety in pacing—her character is presented as generally high-strung throughout the play. She’s sad and high-strung, happy and high-strung, angry and high-strung, and thus a static rhythm emerges and the performance becomes monotonous.

Also, the Russell seemed almost coached to go for—and wait for—the laugh.  This play would have been much better if they didn’t try to squeeze every last laugh out of each scene. What made matters worse is that the audience (comprised of friends and family) seemed to enable the poor choices by providing a laugh track to her mildly funny romps at work and at home. As I looked around the room, some people laughed hysterically while the rest sat and smiled politely. Most annoying was the director. who sat directly behind me and laughed erroneously in order to cue the audiences’ laughter.

The truly amusing moments, such as the revolving door bit when Mary injures her beau-to-be, fail to stand out because of this bungled directing.  IThis play had a lot of potential, because of the writing quality.  However it was much too painful to watch.

See it if: You’re a virgin.

Skip it: If you cringe when you see someone try too hard.