The Great Brain Robbery

A NoHo Arts theatre review of “The Great Brain Robbery” written and performed by Jennifer Lee Weaver, and directed and produced by Kimleigh Smith of Embrace Your Cape Productions.
A NoHo Arts theatre review of “The Great Brain Robbery” written and performed by Jennifer Lee Weaver, and directed and produced by Kimleigh Smith of Embrace Your Cape Productions.

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – A NoHo Arts theatre review of “The Great Brain Robbery” written and performed by Jennifer Lee Weaver, and directed and produced by Kimleigh Smith of Embrace Your Cape Productions.

In Jennifer Lee Weaver’s solo show “The Great Brain Robbery,” with the help of two distinct and highly entertaining pieces of her sweetly brilliant personality, a haughty English woman and a Colombo-like detective, this gifted and extraordinarily unique actor takes us on a curated journey through her life so far. The goal of these carefully selected fragments of her life is to guide us past the shame and the sadness of her, still vital parts of who she is, and on to the wonders of her acutely creative and fiercely resilient soul.  As a baby, she suffered some oxygen deprivation during her birth and her parents were told she might have brain damage…and so that was her moniker for years and years growing up. Totally unnecessarily so in fact.  But it stuck, as things often do, and the less that was expected of her by anyone, the less she felt her own true self. 

She managed to push through the low expectations and sometime cruelty of her situation and eventually left her hometown to become an actress. Something she had always aspired to be, perhaps as a way to completely leave behind who she was always told she was. In Los Angeles she found herself and then she met and fell in love with her wife and all seemed bright and beautiful. Then her spouse fell ill with leukemia and she also had her own profound struggle with cervical cancer… and then her mother passed away. Throughout all this tragedy Jennifer was still trying to find her own center and her own peace.  

It’s a lot, this life we are given. Jennifer has been through more than most. But she has one of those faces. The kind that feels as open as the sky when you look at her. The kind that has been truly loved and should be. And with this shining face she creates a show that is a gorgeous melancholy mixture of character work, utterly brilliant physical morphing, and a deeply moving, sweetly wrought, completely honest and unaffected truth. Jennifer is a brilliant physical actor. She allows each character to inhabit her. whether real or imaginary. There are beats throughout the play where she performs her version of the “Mr Cellophane” song from Chicago. And wow. I didn’t think it was possible to smile and weep at the same time. But Jennifer helped me do it.

I think she wanted to show us her heart. In the same way a child will bring you something hidden in their cupped hands, walking slowly, so as not to disturb the treasure inside before peeling their fingers back to reveal what they consider magical.

That’s how “The Great Brain Robbery” made me feel. Like Jennifer was sharing a treasure with us. And sometimes treasures are hard to see, but that doesn’t make them any less profound or life changing or worth the sometimes deeply difficult effort it takes to share them.

“The Great Brain Robbery” is one of those solo shows that stays with you. That grows in your memory and changes your perspective a little. Nothing obvious at first, just a small shift. But one small shift can change anyone’s trajectory. 

I hope Jennifer Lee Weaver performs this beautiful and moving show again soon and that you will have the opportunity to see her and this treasure of a life.

A word from Jennifer:

There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – ”Winnie the Pooh,” A.A. Milne

www.jenniferleeweaver.com | http://kimleighsmith.com/