Validation is a part of our every day, connecting us to our phones, our email, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. We are linked to everyone we know and don’t know, sharing who we are, or who we pretend we are, with the perfect picture of us and family, all smiles and joy, a depiction of our perfect life. We do this to feel validated, understood, and in a sense loved.
L.O.V.E.R., currently running at Pershing Square Signature Center, is a production that validates a real life with its bad choices, and messy and clumsy transitions, all the while clinging to a hope for more and better, trying to get the love, keep the love, find the love. In other words, it is the story of normal everyday life.
L.O.V.E.R., written and performed by Lois Robbins, is an honest, sometimes brutal, account of her life from childhood to motherhood. She tells the truth, the secret. She hides nothing. It is all in plain sight, honestly necessary.
I sat in the audience saying almost constantly, “Yup I made that dumb choice,” I stayed with that bad boyfriend, made that stupid mistake again before I painfully learned my life lesson. The play is 75 minutes long and those are a fast 75 because she never stops moving and telling and engaging us in her story which, for the women in the audience especially, is OUR story. I wanted to yell, “Thank you!” for having the courage and gumption to get up there and share her truth, take the colored glasses off and plainly say it. She is a reliable narrator. Nothing is sugar-coated. When she gets to the part about being a mother embroiled in the ups and downs of parenting, I was in tears, as I have been there too, am there. I am also trying to do my best, often falling flat on my face. Face. Flat. Yes. The words on stage were words I have heard in my life. My daughter has told me that I stand, look and breath wrong. Which at first is humorous, but when repeated again and again with squinting eyes and venomous lips, there is no denying the sting. Karen Carpenter’s direction is fluid and respectfully stark, effectively utilizing the scenic design by Jo Winiarski. The lighting design by Jeanette Oi-Suk is beautifully layered on the piece. The set and lights complement one another and the performer impeccably, all working together seamlessly to move the story along.
I walked out of the theatre feeling renewed and not alone, ready for the challenge of life once again.
(Photo by Joan Marcus)