Hello Susanna

solo performance · susanna leonard · Ages 10+ · one person show · United States of America

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Review by BRANDON GRANT
June 08, 2016 certified reviewer

What I liked

The music added a haunting quality to an already interesting and captivating story. The sparse use of items on stage put focus and attention one hundred percent on the actress who commanded attention.

What I didn't like

It’s too bad that the theater is on the second floor. There were a lot of stairs to climb. Parking is also very difficult so come early, but it is well worth it.

My overall impression

The show is a memoir of Susanna’s personal feelings immediately after her divorce. She is now stuck in Isreal, with no friends and no family, feeling as alone as Tom Hanks in Castway. In her search for guidance she is visited by the ghost of her great-great-grandmother Anna Ruth. Anna Ruth becomes her own personal Wilson, as she inspires Susanna with her own tales of starting over and overcoming challenges in Communist Russia.

The show does a great job of capturing Susanna’s sentiment through a voice over of herself as she is typing up her feelings on what is presumed to be social media. One can feel the hopelessness and desperation in her voice as she realizes she’s a divorcee at 30, a whole world away from anything that matters to her. The transitions between the ghost of Anna Ruth and Ms. Leonard are seamless. Their conversations are both moving and funny as well. In her bio, it states that Ms. Leonard has had years of comedy training and it truly shows. In the end, you can see a transformation of saddened angered individual to one of a liberated woman who realizes that her life is just beginning and she has the freedom to forge her own path and identity, with her ancestor inspiring her every step of the way. The epiphany that Susanna has, is truly transparent and convincing; the feeling that everything will be alright in the world.

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