Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Discovering the Truth

We all have memories and visions of our parents. What they were like when we were kids. It's how we remember them. In Nicole Ferraro's breathtaking Why So Much Shame?, Ferraro recalls her father who passed when she was a child. As she grows up, she uncovers truths to the person he was that radically alter her memories. Written as an extended monologue, Ferraro plants herself behind the microphone and simply shares. And it's perfect. With a soothing voice, Ferraro paints a picture through imagery of her memories. What's interesting about her text is rather than share the story chronologically, she jumps around in time allowing the past and future to inform one another. It happens to work well for this story.
photo by Katherine Lee
Part of her story discusses a paper she wrote that was deeply dissected by her teacher with a final quote that led to the title of this play. Ferraro doesn’t ask for sympathy in Why So Much Shame?. She simply shares. And that’s beautiful. As a performer, Ferraro keeps a mild tone to her voice. She’ll occasionally deviate bringing a little more energy or sass but the continuity of her storytelling is strong.
What sets Why So Much Shame? apart is the simplicity and vision by director Sara Peters. Peters places a piece of artificial grass with an assortment of childhood items and memories. They’re not just there to create a set, Ferraro subtly comments on each, allowing the audience to pick up on them if they so choose. You can’t help but smile seeing the tape of “Three Men and a Baby” is referenced or the file folder of Daddy’s memories. The other welcome extra to the production was the evocative lighting. Sure, the lighting occasionally changed haphazardly, there were certain moods that were so fitting, and it elevated the story.
Nicole Ferraro has a great piece on her hands. Standing alone on stage, Ferraro would have succeeded but what director Sara Peters brought to the stage is what makes Why So Much Shame? shine.

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