NoHoArtsDistrict.Com Review “Confessions of a Hopeful Southerner……In Front of Strangers.”
Melinda Grace is from the south, from Texas to be exact. This is something that she references often in her debut solo show and I might add that this Texan southern belle is the sweet kind. I’m English and my understanding of Texas is limited to the TV show “Dallas,” western movies and oil. So I was delighted to find that there seems to be a lot more going on there, considering Melinda reminds me of none of those things.
Melinda is sweet. She is sweet and funny and very determined, so determined in fact that she moved, post theatre degree, to NY, all on her own and threw herself into her goal, to become a successful actress.
What happens next, as outlined in her truly wonderful solo play, is what usually happens to anyone in her position. Not very much…at least not as much as they may want. Sure, there were small roles in off, off Broadway plays, and auditions, hundreds of them. But no break out role, no agent, no answer to her heartfelt prayers. Just weekly phone calls to her doting and very supportive father and a few bad dates with strange guys sourced through her church group.
What sets this solo play apart from most I have seen is the subject, Melinda Grace. Her name is a perfect match for her lovely and endearing soul. She is strong, in the kind, old school, true grit sort of way. But she is also thoughtful and considerate in the construction of the play, her story and this powerful and a little bit brilliant rendition of her life. Her lackluster admin job, her part time babysitting job to a NY brat, her weirdo landlord, her loathing of the NY weather and her deep love for her father who she is driven not to disappoint, regardless of how many times he tells her she never could.
Melinda Grace has taken her own small story and elevated it with her charm and her honesty. She has allowed us into her world and her mind and heart, and we are far the better because of it. This is a also a very smart play, well constructed, beautifully imagined and superbly acted. How hard is it to be yourself, I hear you cry? Well I find it difficult out here in the real world, let alone on stage in front of an audience!
But that is the art of the solo show, isn’t it? To take your own story, make it entertaining, memorable and not self indulgent clap trap. It’s tricky and there’s a lot more to it than simply talking about yourself. In “Confessions of a Hopeful Southerner,” Melinda Grace has achieved what few can. She has made her story matter to the rest of us. She has created art out of the everyday and she has done it with ‘grace.’
I highly recommend “Confessions of a Hopeful Southerner……In Front of Strangers.” Add it to your Fringe Ccalendar immediately!!!