INOLA ON THE AISLE @ The First Annual MITF: FALL
Jewel Box Theatre @ Workshop Theatre Company
312 West 36th Street, 4nd Floor, New York, NY
On Wednesday, November 04, 2015
At first, the empty stage enables the audience to speculate in its mind what it is going to see or hear. Moments later, a woman, Claire, runs on the stage and she says, “It’s not fair!” “You vanished but my imagination….” She wears a light jacket and a T-short with the word, Broken, on the front of it.
Claire opens up to the audience with deep emotions about the man with stinky-smelling toes, who is no longer in her life. She misses the smell of his stinky toes, the taste of his lips, and the color of his eyes. She infers that she can see him in her mind’s eye, and she felt safe around him when he was alive. She shouts! “You made me feel whole, safe.” She walks around on the stage and says, “Now, all I feel is broken.”
Claire takes off her shoes, sneakers and socks; and she kneels on the floor. Later, she reminisce about her life as a child, and she describes her experience in the bathroom where she closes her eyes. She gets into a magical life, wishing she is somebody else; but not herself. The audience takes in her every word intensely as she continues to reveal how she finally had the courage to question herself. Who am I? Am I black or white? She recounts that her mother’s face dropped before she responded to her questions. Her mother said to her that God doesn’t make ugly things, but people make good things ugly. In addition, she describes the leaving of her father from this world. He died years earlier! Her belief in this magic changed when she had to wear a uniform and being driven in a van to school.
Claire tells the audience that she was assured by her mother that it was time for her to go to school, in the world. She realized that the other children were different, and she wanted to go back home with her mother. She never saw her mother again. Claire’s mother was killed and she was left alone in this world. She lets the audience into her world about the lost she felt when she was a young girl before she talks about how she met the man who was in her life. He died on September 11, 2001.
Like most people do, Claire was minding her own business in a business establishment listening to jazz music. She saw the vision of this person she met in an over-stretch T-shirt. She observed the stranger’s steps, and all the while she was wondering what would happen if those fingers were to examine her. Longing to be noticed and longing to be observed, the man comes over to her cocoon. After giving him a once over, she gets into a conversation with him. They bonded with each other, and he gave her a necklace. He draped it around her neck, and she informs the audience about his comment. He tells her that the necklace was meant for her.
The man encouraged Claire to leave the restaurant. He said to her, “Let’s get out of here and go down to the… for ice cream.” Claire doesn’t like ice cream, and the man wanted to know why she doesn’t like it. She tells the audience that he gave her the opportunity to tell him her reason by offering to drive her to the beach. She never went to the beach before. The audience awaits Claire’s explanation about her trip with the man on their way to the beach. She talks about their first-time encounter until their last on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. He was hell bent on seeking a better job on that fatal day. His appointment was at 8:00 am, and she was afraid that he will get the job.
After the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings, Claire left the apartment in search of the car, and she found it although she left the keys at home. She tells the audience that she climbed into the back seek of the car, and someone took her out of the car. She was taken to a dusty room, and she knew that they were talking about her. Later on, Claire tried her best to cope with the loss of this man. She informs the audience about her whereabouts and the things she did in order to reconcile with her hurt and emptiness inside. The beach was a place of solace for her where she holds up the necklace that was given to her by the man.
The writer’s gets his message across to the audience. This one-woman show, “Broken” surely allows the audience to feel the hurt of a real person whose significant other died on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. There are more stories out there to be told, and I will recommend this performance to theatre goers on a regular basis. The healing process is a long and time-consuming one for too many people whose love ones died on this date. The American History and the World History have changed the way in which businesses are conducted around the world. There is no turning back!