A NoHo Arts theatre review of ”Schmaltzy & Princie: Diary of a Not-So-Great Daddy’s Girl” written and performed by Mary Lee Herrmann, directed and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson at this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival.
“Schmaltzy & Princie” is an autobiographical journey through Mary Lee Herrmann’s life, her relationship with her adored and equally adoring father and her innate, and (very recognizable by this particular writer I can tell you) ability to procrastinate her talent…to the point of grinding to a halt. Like I said, very recognizable.
The play is performed almost like a writing exercise. Each chapter or scene begins at the typewriter and then proceeds to be acted out by Mary Lee, a perfect premise to get her from one place in her story to another. A construction that rather de-constructs her life. Breaking it down to scenes and moments that were particularly pivotal, not just for the purpose of this play but also in her actual life. I suppose, if any of us were to look back and pinpoint specific moments when our life took a turn and then write it down, kind of a patchwork edition of the highlights and the lowlights of a life, it might look something like this.
But I’m not certain that it could ever be done as skillfully and effectively as Mary Lee Herrmann has with this truly innovative, very funny and deeply perceptive play.
Rummaging around in someone else’s life, especially when it has been curated the way this one has, could be a bit triggering. I admit that my relationship with my father mirrors Mary Lee’s in some ways. I loved him, I indulged him, I fought with him, too, But, I think we both admired that ability we had to fall out and always know we were only a phone call away. I miss that. Mary Lee’s father was besotted with her, as he should be, and he indulged her and supported her the way her mother couldn’t. But I guess that’s another story. So when he became ill and she ran to his side, just as I did to mine, the pain of not being able to fix him resonated. She blamed herself even as she cared for him and especially when he passed. We can’t always save the ones we love. Sometimes that isn’t even our job. However, it’s hard to see that when we are in it.
”Schmaltzy & Princie: Diary of a Not-So-Great Daddy’s Girl” is a beautifully balanced and artfully constructed play about love and forgiveness and taking one’s time to become who we were supposed to become.
Some people are fireworks and some are vintage wine. I like the wine best, it lasts longer. I loved this play. A solo show for the writers amongst us and the all us fatherless princesses.
Taking an artist from idea to performance is an absolute calling. Jessica Lynn Johnson is the high priestess of solo shows and she lovingly helped bring this one to life! Bravo!
Sunday, June 12 at 2:15 PM
Saturday, June 18 at 6:15 PM
7456 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90046