“Valentine” theater review at Whitefire Theatre Solofest
Written, directed and performed by Tracy Ann Chapel
Developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson
“Valentine” is a charmingly told journey through one woman’s complicated life.
Tracy Ann Chapel had an abusive mother, she lived in constant fear of her, but her grandmother was her champion. She taught her to sew, to have purpose and to be proud of who she was.
Of course things are never as easy as we would hope and Tracy Ann went on to marry an abusive husband, who beat her, and after many years of marriage she finally found the strength to leave him. So much of her life was tragic and yet she found creativity and motivation in so many ways. Tracy Ann sold couture luxury bridal gowns for Vera Wang. She graduated from culinary college. She studied circus arts. She became a professional clown, actor and a filmmaker, and has travelled the world.
You might expect Tracy Ann’s dark days to cast a shadow over her, and yet she seems positively iridescent, full of light and warmth and grace.
The story isn’t over of course, and as she painfully relates her very recent and truly horrifying encounter with a Tom Jones imposter, who scammed her for several thousand dollars.
We begin to wonder how this joyful, sweet and clearly very bright woman could have such a bad run. Her story is both heartbreaking and uplifting, cautionary and totally relatable.
We all need love. We all trust when perhaps we should not. Yet I for one would rather be disappointed occasionally than to live life without hope and faith in people and continue to have a starry eyed view of the world. Perhaps that is a bit naive, and a bit “do as you would be done by.” But that always works both ways, doesn’t it? Either way, Tracy has once again in her life, taken a deep breath, bravely chosen to move through the pain, and to make something positive from it. And for that we should be grateful.
I find her inspiring, her “Valentine” story compelling and relatable and wish that she continues to make beauty out of sadness and fulfilling art from her fascinating and richly drawn life.
You can find out more about Tracy Ann Chapel on her website here: https://tracyannchapel.com