Voicemail messages from the real woman who inspired the character played throughout the show ground the piece in endearing verisimilitude even as we head off to Mars. Yet where the show packs a real punch is in Freebird’s constant struggle to stay sober, hilariously and poetically expressed in a choreographed tango with a wine bottle; and later, a well-executed, zero gravity pas de deux with same, on Mars. Despite her decades-long struggle with addiction and her low-rent job at Walmart, Freebird remains huge-hearted and eminently, unflappably game: walking three miles a day, switching to a diet of strictly freeze-dried foods and memorizing complicated space travel protocol months if not years ahead of her trip. Thanks to Betsy Moore’s nuanced, deeply human portrayal of a character she clearly loves, we feel safe in Freebird’s hands. No matter what happens, she’s got this. And maybe we do, too.
What I didn't like
Loved the monkey and wondered why he wasn’t in a space helmet alongside Freebird and her new friend on Mars. Would also have loved a lighter visor on Betsy’s helmet, as one doesn’t want to miss a moment of her wonderful facial expressions.
My overall impression
Philip Roth wrote, "Because that is when you love somebody – when you see them being game in the face of the worst. Not courageous. Not heroic. Just game.” A veteran of more marriages than she can count, an alcoholic in a minute-by-minute battle to stay sober, and an unlikely space travel pioneer, Betsy Moore’s Freebird instantly and indelibly carves space in our hearts and expands our idea of what is possible.