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So Do You Love Me Yet?
The Bedroom @ Fort Fringe
612 L St. NW
Saturday, July 18 at 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m.
They say: “‘I love you’ or ‘I lust you’? What’s the difference? A young black woman tries to find out. Experience the beauty and horror of love and dating in this one-woman show that features spoken-word poetry and storytelling.”
Trey’s take: There’s more beauty than horror here, and not just because writer-performer Farah Lawal is an ingratiating presence onstage. (Though she’s certainly ingratiating — lovely, with a smile that’s sunny and sly by turns, and a talker confident enough to suggest some time spent on slam-poetry stages.) And not just because the evening’s string of matte-finish performance poems (no coincidence that Lawal calls her poetry blog Pearls from Pain) offers more meditations in the mode of hopeful — of happy yearning around the topics of love and loving, couples and coupling — than it does in the key of despair.
Wishful thinking? Hard-earned wisdom? I wouldn’t pretend to know, or presume to guess. But although Lawal can sling sass when it’s called for — you don’t want to be the guy about whom a woman writes a scornful, clean-lined bit of blank verse titled ‘Booty Call,’ do you? — and though she can certainly dial up the darkness effectively — hers is the second show this week that’s name-checked pain as a feeling that’ll suffice in the absence of any other sensation — Lawal and director Leslie Felbain have decided that the prevailing mood in The Bedroom (apt venue, that) should be a generous one, and the overriding tone one of great sweetness. It would seem churlish to respond to So Do You Love Me Yet? with anything less than an equal measure of goodwill.
See it if: You could stand a little optimism as a tonic for your weltschmerz.
Skip it if: The merest whiff of sentiment sets off your Pollyanna alarm.