Fringeworthy

Hip Shot: Oh, What Can’t a Woman Do?

OhWhatCan'tAWomanDoFort Fringe — Bedroom

Remaining Performances:
Wednesday, July 16 at 8:00 pm
Saturday, July 19 at 6:45 pm
Thursday, July 24 at 10:00 pm
Sunday, July 27 at 5:15 pm

They say: Isabella Andreini was a remarkable 16th century Italian commedia dell’arte actress, whose talent on the stage led to the recognition of her literary work. She used her works as platforms to defend the independent and profound capabilities of intellectual women.

Cara's Take: Writer & performer Hilary Morrow's love for her subject, Isabella Andreini, shines out clearly in this one-woman show. Morrow has a lovely stage presence; her voice, both in speaking and singing is clear and strong.

The play itself is structured around Andreini's deathbed. As a framing device, this only partially works because the clunky transitions that require her to wrap a scarf around her shoulders and sit in the chaise lounge set stage right interrupt the flow of the story. The narrative elements and the identification of other characters provided in these flash-forwards are necessary, but the device itself doesn't work smoothly. I also found three brief mime vignettes of Commedia characters menacing one of Andreini's children to be confusing. It might have been an illustration of parental fear, post-partum depression, or an idea Andreini had for a new play.

Despite these flaws, this is definitely a play worth seeing. I admired the use of Andreini's poems and essays throughout the story. She was a remarkable woman who rose to the pinnacle of literary circles at a time when women were rarely educated.

See it if: You'd like to see a strong performance about a remarkable woman.

Skip it if: You're not interested in historical characters.

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