Inola @ Planet Connections: Answering Well the Immortal Question

The first performance that I have seen is “Who Am I” written by Rodney Reyes, directed by Janelle Zapata; stage managed by Samantha Nouges; starring Eric Campos, Randy Cordero, Jenna DiMartini, Alisha Espinosa, Gladys Hendricks, Rebecca Overholt, , Mary Sheridan, Leanne Gioia, and Saeko Hayashi.

The audience gets the glimpse of a woman who walks on stage in her role as God.  Soon after, two dancers enter the stage from behind the curtain, and they dance in an angelic manner for the audience.  The first woman walks around and she picks a young woman from the audience with a cellular telephone.  Next, she picks a guy and a few others; and they stand in the aisle of the theatre.  The dancers dance and they remind the audience of performers in the American Ballet company.  The dancers continue their routine before they disappear and return with chairs to the stage.

The cast of “WHO AM I” (Photo credit: Jazmyn Arroyo)

The men and women go on stage, and they occupy the space in different position!  The audience listens to a voice message via a voice over.  One of the actors celebrates her 33rd birthday, and her father wants her to visit him.  The question is asked.  Who am I?  Another young woman talks with a guy who sits on a chair.  He gets up and she stands on the chair.  Her name is May!  The man tries to get rid of the girl without success.  She is a product of his creation and his imagination.

The audience witnesses the interaction between the mother and the daughter, and it anticipates the outcome before the end of the show.  In addition, there is a young man with a tortured soul; and his feminine character wants to dominate his life.  He fights with himself emotionally to suppress his true inner feeling.  Within these performances, the dancers entertain the audience, and the first woman directs the performers in their quests for clarity in their lives.

The audience sees an actor whose assignment differ from the others, for he has to fulfill the role of God.  He wants to walk in God’s footsteps.  He wants to bite more than he can chew.  He asks for the responsibility, but he can’t handle it.  As the show progresses, May’s creator tells her all about his life as a struggling writer.  He writes comic books because life in the world sucks, so he creates the girl in his story.  He tells her that he has five note books with her information, her backstory.  She wants to be a real person with parents.

The daughter gets the opportunity to hear what happened to her mother after 30 years of speculation.  The daughter gets closure and now she understands what really happened to her mother.  She was of the opinion that her mother had abandoned her when she was a three-year old child.  The mother tells her daughter that she and her father loved each other.  They were young and stubborn, and she wanted a break from fighting with her father.  She left for an hour to clear her head, and disaster struck her on the street.  The mother reiterates to her daughter that she was never able to return to her after that dreadful event.  She professes her loved for her daughter.

The audience empathizes with the young man who was pushed away by his father after his baseball game.  The girls cheered for him, but he only cared about the boys.  His father refused to hug him in public.  He explains to the audience how he hated who he was, so he created a persona in order to get his father’s love.  His ultra-ego tells him that the time for the mask is over.  It’s a dream and nightmare all at once for him.  He steps through the frame.  He is unable to go home again!  He experiences a turning point in his life, and there is no looking back.

The writer gets his message across to the audience, for it takes courage and fortitude to persevere in this unjust world.  The mother’s leaving of her daughter to clear her head has created a domino effect for the last 30 years.   God is the only being that is qualified to make snap judgements without dire consequences.  This show is a first-class performance that will enable all theatre goers to get their monies’ worth in value.  There are a few moral messages available to help humanity!

The reviewer’s point of view:  It is not an easy task to swallow a pill of gigantic proportion when one is in denial.  Facing the realities of life can become a noose around the necks of the weak hearted.  It is expedient to face one’s fears without excuses.  This is the only way in which one can honestly answers the question of “Who am I?”

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