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Thursday night I was
up to my ears in "Dirt"
and I felt fan-tastic!
Nancy's review of the screen reading of the play
"Soiled" written by Playwright, Juliette Regnier
Cleveland Public Theatre - Gordon Square - Cleveland Ohio - October 3, 2013
Review of "Dirt" Coming Out Shortly!
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I give this show a (*****) 5 star rating. My now official top rating!
"The bloody corpse of a woman with long, disheveled hair, was sprawled on the blackened-stained and dusty wooden plank cabin floor. Murder was just one of the harsh realities in the lives of three women, one now dead, living on a "hog ranch" in Wyoming in the year 1883 . Sadly enough, this horror was, to me, equally as sad as was the story of the youngest woman in the play. Questioningly I say "woman" because the girl is spoken of as being just about 15 years of age. "Philly", or Velvet, as she liked to be called, was seductively and successfully enticed away from her home and mother at the age of 10.
1883 Wyoming had other 'harsh realities', no doubt women and girls lives, held cruel and bitter circumstances of their own. For this girl there was poverty and lack of the benefit of education. An older gentleman, with the solemn declaration of his heart, a share in his wealth and the promise of marriage, had what it took to take this girl from her home and mother, and into a life of prostitution. It is only one part of the story "Soiled" - written by Actress / turned playwright, Juliette Regnier.
... My full review is below, Nancy ...
This past Thursday, October 3rd, I was lucky to be among the audience 'in the house' at the Cleveland Public Theatre, watching the 'screen reading' of the play "Soiled". The lives of these women, the murdered woman as well, will remain with me and be a part of my life for some time to come. My most humble review is below: I am not a professional in this area... but this screen reading, this story has led me to share my feelings. Nancy Gurish, Your Health And Tech Friend Magazine
Side Note: "The SpringBoard series places a special emphasis on developing directors for new work, nurturing strong relationships between directors and playwrights, and engaging the audience in the process. SpringBoard is NOT actors standing at music stands. This work is up on its feet with the excitement of innovation and invention in action. Audience members give feedback and engage in post-show discussions to help shape the future of these high-potential endeavors."
Thursday night - October 3rd, 2013 was a very enjoyable evening of entertainment for me. One of the two screen readings this evening was,
"Soiled" a play written by a local actress turned playwright, Juliette Regnier, CPT Nord Playwright Fellow, and directed by Emily Ritger. I'd never been to a 'staged, script reading', but I felt as if I were, very much seeing an actual play. If you get a chance - I recommend you attend one. - Nancy!
I was alarmed as I watched quite stunning images portrayed on the stage. The story has a lot of raw, very raw life to it's core. There had been a murder... and the women, three women, - in the room with a corpse - were hardened enough by life, so much that the brutal murder didn't quite faze them. Neither did the bloody corpse on the floor! (So real was the voice of this reading, it was not difficult at all to envision an 'oak blackened-stained wooden plank floor' (now stained with blood), within a cabin, that would no doubt have been the setting for this tale.) One character, a young woman by the name of 'Philly' or 'Velvet', said to be about 15 years old showed some fear at being left alone with a corpse, but gave a good attempt to put up a cool front for her peers. The play reminded me of the chilling and savage brutality in the Truman Capote classic, "In Cold Blood". But there were surprising twists to this play - my heart was torn by the 15 year old young woman, as the story of her life was revealed. She'd been - brought into the life of "a whore" at the early age of 10. Seduced into the life by an older 'gentleman' - a man who at this scene in the play was, in the military... they referred to him as a general. The man had promised the young woman his heart, promised her marriage, and an existence of wealth and stability, when he returned and, in some distant future. And the girl was waiting, and - believing. But for now, she was just one of the 'whores', who's job was to 'clean up' and 'dress up' the 'one, dead whore.'
Some of the language, to me, well, I had a moment in the beginning of the production where I said the usual, to myself, "do they have to use such graphic language"? "Can't they make a point without it?" But, after a time, I came to see that, this was, for one: not present day, and secondly, this was not my existence - this was the "harsh" reality of a "hog ranch" in Wyoming in 1883. And, there are times when, the truth can't be buried under the veil of respectability. Not when respectability was not a part of the truth..
Another surprise was the story's 'charm and fun' - this aspect brought to mind the dancing and singing in the musical, Chicago. This was a very different story from any I've seen. I'm not a professional critic in any way, but as a layman, I've enjoyed a good amount of entertainment from plays, and movies to books and concerts. I was completely engaged in this play. What I wrote on my comment card was, "I really, really liked it!"
Just above, I mentioned briefly this story's 'charm and fun' - this review will not be complete at all, until I elaborate on this. Because I left this reading with a complete sense of .... subtle, but quiet peace. A quiet satisfaction and a true subtle feeling of lightness. There was quite a bit of laughter from the audience sprinkled throughout the reading. The actors' readings were, for one thing, very professional - the job these women, and the one man, (whose role wasn't clear to me...) did was truly very good, (I think his role will be defined when the play is in full production.) Coming away from a (for lack of another word), from a film like "Soiled" which I compared to "In Cold Blood" and being able to say that I saw, "charm and fun" and felt "true subtle feelings of lightness" is a strange paradox. But, there was just so much involved in this drama, so much that I couldn't begin to explain, or describe with this writing.
After some thought I can describe what had happened to me in the presence of this screenplay: that 'quiet peace' that I felt, in the middle of 'brutal and harsh / cruel living situations' was made possible (through very fine writing) through the character's personalities! The tearing at my heart-strings, from the sadness I felt for 'Velvet' was my maternal instinct being tugged at - however, the whole picture was larger than any one of it's parts. The whole picture, was a compilation of each, individual in this play. Each and every one of the character's personality and their 'coping mechanisms' - and, I think their acceptance, their very true acceptance, of their state in life, along with their own ability to laugh at life, was the foundation that truly made this play a comedic - drama. There was avoidance on some levels: avoidance of heavy use of alcohol as, a poor 'coping' mechanism, however: Some very real comedy took place on that stage. I have to say, that was quite a feat made possible by the writing of Ms. Regnier.
It is my best instinct that tells me that Ms. Regnier really knew these characters. Knew them deep down: what made them 'tick', what brought them to where they were. The best way I can see to describe what the writer did with these characters, how she defined them was; each character was their own, 'patch work quilt'. Each of the characters within this play had many facets - as a patch work quilt has. And those facets could evoke laughter as easily as they could inflict or receive pain.
In as much as a very light hearted movie leaves me feeling 'taken away from it all' "Soiled" left me with that same peace-filled satisfaction. And I was very grateful for that, as my own life at this time has had a lot of rough things going on. I really needed what I got from this play, 'reading'. I'm very glad for the decision I made in trying out a 'screen reading.' I'll definitely do this again.
Thank you Juliette Regnier for bringing me a 'subtle peace' this past Thursday evening. I surely needed it!
P.S. Ms. Regnier, I truly hope I served some justice for the fine play you've written. ~~~ Nancy G.
As the editor of Your Health And Tech Friend Magazine I am pleased that the first review I am writing is for the 'screen reading' of the play,
"Soiled". I'll be looking forward to the announcement of the opening of this play. My family and I will surely be there to find out what happens!
I will give this show a (*****) 5 star rating. My official top rating!
Nancy Koncilja Gurish
The history and description of Cleveland Public Theatre (see below)
History of Cleveland Public Theatre
Cleveland Public Theatre was
founded and incorporated in 1981. James Levin had returned from New York and was determined to form a theatre similar to Cafe LaMama, the internationally renowned experimental theatre in New York City, where he worked as an actor and director for three years. CPT continues to fulfill Levin's vision of a theatre that can transform an urban neighborhood. Today CPT is ... " continue to this article ...
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