The Whitefire Theatre, Solofest, 13500 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 - January 11, 2019
This is a one-woman show that I’ll remember for a very long time. Lara Repko breathtakingly suspends the audience as her first of many characters, the Fairy Godmother, enters the stage.
Lara Repko provides these diverse, edgy, humorous characters to spin her anti-fairy tale and she does an exquisite job. It’s so easy for most performers to rely too much on characterization, this is not the case with Repko. She starts connecting directly with the audience right away through her characters of the Fairy Godmother, Sister, Naive, Boy Crazy and Mean Girl, to name a few.
Kudos to Jessica Lynn Johnson, the director. Lara Repko, when asked about how carefully she crafted the characters, gave thanks to Ms. Johnson’s direction.
Lara supports each vignette well with her facial expression and physical ticks. She’s an accomplished actress and at home on the stage. Her ingenious juxtaposition of a nicely raised, religious girl and her succinct slide show of her rebellious hellion underscore how well she balances the pathos and humor. She portrays her vulnerability in a powerful way, mentioning her hard-partying freshmen spell in college that perfectly segues into her first romantic relationship/first love that devolved into a violent tragedian relationship of abuse, including every kind physical, mental and sexual violence. Explaining so well how she got there, “I literally and figuratively wanted to fill the void.” The audience is rooting for her as she navigates therapy and realizes her full potential as a healthy, sexual being empowered to end the terror.
Instead of dwelling on the hurt, Lara, explains the thing most people wonder, “Why did she stay?” The characters are voices that dwell in her and are realistic, having different parts of her personality that make up a healthy, balanced human being. After all, the dark side and the light side dwell within us all. After empowering herself with mindfulness through Dialectical Behavior Therapy (which she explains very well), Lara does the one thing that guarantees a happy ending: Lara rescues herself, the ultimate in female empowerment.
This one-woman show is a success on many artistic levels but most importantly in teaching. Lara involves the audience in her pain and joy brilliantly. Lara Repko is the one to watch for future brilliance and I, for one, will be tracking her future successes!