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She Moved Through the Fair
Warehouse – Next Door
Saturday, July 18th, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, July 19th, 3:45 p.m.
They Say: “The romantic life of a contemporary Irishwoman is illuminated in bittersweet, often comic tales of coming of age, illicit love affairs gone wrong, an unforgettable plan for revenge, and its surprising aftermath.”
Glen’s Take: Scheinman’s preview precis sheds a bit more light: “One-woman show; reminiscences of a brandy-swilling Irish lass delivered in a soupy brogue.”
The one woman in question, possessed of both brandy and brogue, is one Polly MacIntyre, whose show takes the form of four brief slice-of-life monologues — each one, in this case, sliced neatly from the life of a character named Kathleen.
We first meet her as teenager as she recounts to us — in hushed, embarrassed whispers — the tale of her decidedly unromantic deflowering. A quick backstage change of hairstyle later, and a slightly older Kathleen shares with us the tale of her abortive romance with a pompous musician. Next, she finds herself thrust into the role of mistress, afloat in a romantic limbo that’s beginning to wear at her nerves, and finally we come upon a middle-aged Kathleen waiting in a Paris cafe, attempting to figure out just how she ended up there.
MacIntyre has given the thing a crisp narrative shape, and each monologue is flecked with lovely bits of language and the kind of small, telling detail that turns anecdote into art. Tonally, however, the evening never moves off the starting block — each vignette covers the same, smallish patch of emotional terrain; perhaps inevitably, MacIntyre’s performance keeps hitting the same beats, and the emotional delineations between the stages of Kathleen’s life blur together.
“Bittersweet?” Well, sure — but unvaryingly so; I found myself wishing for MacIntyre to connect more directly with the audience, to let us feel the bitter, and the sweet, more plainly. In the closing monologue of She Moved Through the Fair, Kathleen arrives at an interesting, introspective place – and if what preceded it had evinced a cleaner dramatic arc, we might have arrived there with her.
See it if: Emotional arc, schmemotional arc: You’re just up for some stories in which men are revealed as the slags and weasels you know them to be.
Skip it if: The interstitial Celtic music will give you brown acid Enya flashbacks.