Written and Performed by Jacqi Bowe.
Part of the Whitefire Theatre Solo Streamfest. https://www.whitefiretheatre.com
The show opens with a song…and just keeps on going. Funny, poignant and very, very clever, Jaqi Bowe unpacks her life on stage, surrounded by a quite literal garage sale. Piles of stuff, signifying her life, are all around her as she narrates, using one item after another, like a not-so-private tour of everything of importance to her.
It’s such a brilliant and entertaining way of unveiling a life. We all have stuff we carry around, literally and figuratively, and certainly emotionally. How perfect would it be to lay it all out, dust and all, to sell off cheap what we need to get rid of and having thinned it all out to then identify what really means something, what we need to keep, what we need to remind us who we are?
The writing is so excellent and Jaqui is hilarious – classic comic timing, wonderfully constructed jokes, heart piercing self depreciation, the kind of comedy that stays with you. It’s all from her heart, you can tell. It all works like a well-oiled machine in fact. Like the very best kind of comedy writing always does. Disarmingly simple, deceptively charming and then it hits you on the head or pierces your heart a little with something poignant and raw and meaningful.
With each fantastic character she unearths from her life piles, using slippers and hats and the flotsam and jetsam of her world, we discover more about her. Through these characters and her interpretations of pivotal and always funny stories, she releases trauma, lets go of ancient tics and annoying memories, just the kind that keep us all up at night, she unravels and lets go and it’s inspirational to watch. Each brilliant character an opportunity to showcase her outstanding talent and her creativity.
She skewers perfectly the ties that bind us, unwillingly or otherwise. These people she embodies – Irish nuns, crazy neighbors, country singers, life coaches, and on and on – are all little pieces of what seems to be quite a very eventful existence, they are all beautifully created in front of us, achingly honest, important and real. Nowadays we might easily forget that other people actually exist. Locked away as we are, afraid to touch, unable to meet most peoples eye even, cloistered beneath our masks.
Thankfully this absolutely brilliant solo show reminded me how vital it is to have each other, in all our crazy, annoying, loud, embarrassing and human glory. Thank god for these brave souls who continue with their art online and for the Whitefire Theatre who helps them do it. I loved “Emotional Garage Sale.” It’s the very best kind of solo work. Vivid, intimate, shockingly honest and very very funny. Bravo!!!