REVIEWS

 

 

Identity Crisis

Farmville Herald, February 17, 2009

 

By Brett Hursey

 

Royal Shirée delivers a powerful performance in her one-woman show Identity Crises. Presented in the Waterworks theatre’s intimate theatrical space, Shirée’s delivery of multiple characters is often striking and compelling.


One-person shows always present unique acting challenges -- especially given that an audience’s focus is constantly and completely trained on a single actor throughout the show. Only a performer with prodigious energy and stage-presence can successfully carry this type of drama. Fortunately Shirée possesses the skill to present her characters with impressive verve and sensitivity.


The show itself revolves around four separate roles -- all played by Shirée herself. Each character varies greatly from the next and she displays admirable range in playing female roles ranging from old to young, and from multi-levels of culture and society. Particularly striking is Shirée’s portrayal of an elderly woman battered by the loss of her husband and estranged daughter, as well as her delivery of a gregarious young girl who is the unwitting victim of sexual abuse.


While much of the show’s subject matter is often raw and uncensored, there is no denying that the play succeeds in pushing audiences to re-examine their own preconceived ideas about the world. Good drama creates an opportunity for the observer to experience life through characters onstage -- to step (in a small way) into the shoes of a person often unlike themselves. Royal Shirée presents characters whose shoes are often cramped and painful, but audiences will be better for having stepped into them -- if for only a night.

 

“I think the production is completely extraordinary. I think the way she shifts from character to character, it takes such skill, and they’re such very different individuals. And dealing with different issues in terms of violence against women, it’s hugely important. And she makes me think of Anna Deavere Smith and the characters that she plays . . . Royal is doing what Anna does. The different backgrounds and the different cultures and the different violence and what it does to women, it’s just immensely important for people to see. So I hope she’ll be performing this all over. I was blown away. She is really fabulous.”

~  Jan Freeman, Paris Press

"Men and women live in two different worlds . . . Men don't know what women go through . . . When we're stalked, we don't think much of it because we feel sorry for them, but women, when they're stalked, they have something to fear . . ."

~ Male audience attendee

"It was excellent. I loved your characters, your acting and the whole thing. It's my favorite of all your work so far. To preface the performance with knowing what it is about, one might be a little wary, but you handled the subject matter with such mastery and the music and dancer were perfectly wonderful additions. I liked how you softened it a bit at the end, to bring things back around from such an intense subject matter."

~ Laurabella Owens