Review by DAVID MACDOWELL BLUEAugust 30, 2021 certified reviewer
What I liked
But, like a haiku, this one manages it. Barbara Saba essentially captures the essence of a life lost amid childhood hurt never healed. She seems to be an Italian ex-pat living in Hollywood, pursuing her career as an actor, but wanting to quit smoking. Well, she doesn’t really want to quit. In truth she loves smoking. But she realizes she should and has found a hypnotherapist—also Italian—who has a good reputation.
That therapist herself is a magnificent little creation, utterly vivid, totally believable, and one who literally reaches in to ask the most piercing questions in a breezy, yet extravagant style. Turns out Barbara’s father ran a tobacco shop, so of course she smokes. Oh but there is much more to it than that…
Of course she is lying to herself. Don’t we all? Maybe she thinks she needs to stop smoking but what she really needs is to find a way past her own pain, her own anger. In a startlingly simple set of tiny scenes, she gives us the entire arc of her life, or at least the essence of it. More, she does far more than act out such scenes—she lives them. Someone once asked me how actors achieve really moving and powerful scenes and dialogue. I told them “we pretend really hard, with all the passion of a child, but the discipline of an adult.” Well, Saba pretends extremely hard, with the passion of a very imaginative child, and the discipline of an insightful, skilled adult. It was an honor as well as a pleasure to see her perform. The climax of the play worked only because of her own abilities as a performer, and methinks she wrote to her strengths. Results speak for and of themselves.
What I didn't like
I wanted more.
My overall impression
Most solo shows tend to be a bit short, especially for the Fringe. Lies, Anger and Forgiveness seems like it should be much too short. At only thirty minutes, one wonders how it could really delve much into anything, especially since most solos last almost twice that and leave me wanting more.