CAVEAT: I am producing a show in the same venue that is technically in competition with this one for an additional performance (though I do not view mine as a serious contender).
SHOW TITLE: Spirit of Hope
PRODUCER: Crossroads Performing Arts
HAILING FROM: Minneapolis
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A potpourri of stories & dance. humorous tale about a woman who defends herself in court. A Vietnam veteran, deals with life; A true love story; and an eerie tale about a woman’s face in the ripples of a lake.
I would say that this is a show that’s not well-served by its combination of title, image, and description – I went in with no clear sense of what it was that I would be seeing. My guess was that it would be something politically confrontational, which it really wasn’t.
To call this a one-woman show would be a disservice to other two performers who occupy the stage at various points – but it’s certainly driven by a single performance, ably abetted by a musician who accompanies her and occasionally sings, as well as a dancer who punctuates one of her stories with movement.
As a writer who has spent many years writing about the futility of hope, I can’t claim that I was moved by the repeated exhortations of the concept – but I didn’t resent them, either. The fact is that the central writer/performer is sufficiently charming and charismatic that she can carry some pretty thin material.
And now that I write that, I think that characterizing it as thin is a bit unfair, as well. That would imply that it’s trying for great depth and failing, and I don’t think that’s the case. This is, at its core, a series of character sketches – sketches not just of the characters, but the worlds they inhabit. It’s four moving paintings, that give us just a glimpse into a certain place and a certain time, and hints about the people who occupy it.
I rarely laughed, but it’s not a comedy. I sat there smiling for most of the time, and passed a pleasant, if unremarkable, hour.
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