BOTTOM LINE: Half of a mid-life crisis, but more fun!
¼ Life Crisis is a really fun and touching one-person show that investigates the trials and tribulations of existing in these trying times at the complicated age of twenty-whatever.
Writer and star Alison Lynne Ward takes you on a very personal journey as she tries to sort out all the complicated details of her burgeoning adulthood, negotiating, essentially with herself, in an attempt to set a realistic timeline for the rest of her life. After all, she needs ample time to be discovered, get married, have a couple kids and then return to acting to nurture and further her stardom before she is too old (30) to really enjoy it all.
While upon first glance, the premise may seem trite, it is a credit to Ward's vulnerability and good humor that this play is so successful. Sure, we've seen these problems and dilemmas played out on stage before, but because Ward is so affable, not only was I engaged by her struggle, I was also able to see some of my own in hers, and consequently, I was able to laugh at them, her and me. Ward, along with director Robert Sterling, creates an experience that is unexpectedly and pleasantly cathartic. If you are struggling with the loose ends in your own life, maybe a trip to see ¼ Life Crisis is the therapy you need.
A final note: about ten or fifteen minutes into the performance I attended, a light bulb blew and the instrument was smoking and the theatre had to be evacuated. The entire audience, cast and crew ended up shivering together for about five minutes on the street outside while the bulb was changed. When we returned to the theatre, Ward sort of shrugged, smiled said, "I'm just gonna pick up where I left off," and launched right back into the play as if no crisis had ever arisen. She had a quarter show crisis and handled it, as she handled her quarter life crisis, with grace, charm and good humor.
(1/4 Life Crisis plays at Under St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place, through March 6, 2010. Performances are February 28th at 2:30pm, March 1st at 10:30pm, March 3rd at 9pm and March 6th at 4pm. Tickets are $16 and can be purchased at smarttix.com. For more festival information visit frigidnewyork.info.)