Monday, 04 April 2011

A Woman Alone

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Daniela Lavender, gives a brilliant performance as Maria, a housewife driven to extreme measures by an abusive husband, a younger lover, a perverted brother-in-law, a peeping tom AND a crying baby(!), in the intriguing black comedy "A Woman Alone."
Daniela Lavender, wife of screen legend Sir Ben Kingsley, couldn't have picked a better play for her London theatre debut. The Brazilian beauty's passion and fire that run through the blood and veins of any Latina, are put to good use in this disturbingly entertaining piece of experimental theatre. Harassed by an abusive husband, pestered by a perverted brother in law, longing for her love for a younger man and telling off a peeping tom, Maria (Daniela Lavender), has her hands full.

To make matters worse, her screaming baby and a crank caller gleefully maximise her misery. The perverted brother in law who doesn't let his wheelchair bound disabled body stop him interfering with any woman in sight, triggers off laughter, reminding the audience that they're watching a comedy after all! But things soon become darker as Maria takes extreme measures to save her sanity.

A one woman show, "A Woman Alone" is a testimony to the human spirit and demonstrates that which we are all capable of doing when pushed to the limit of our patience. Keeping an audience entertained for nearly an hour, all by oneself, is no easy task. But Daniela Lavender makes it look easy by becoming Maria and one must confess that at certain times, one forgets that she is an actress doing her job. We are drawn into Maria's life. The woman seated onto my right gasps while Maria thrusts the barrel of a rifle into her mouth. Others shift uncomfortably in their seats, fearing Maria's fate for when her husband returns home. The entire story is told by Maria herself, while chatting to her neighbour whom she had just met through the window. Anger, frustration, hope, regret, guilt and determination are just some of the inner turmoil Daniela mirrors proving her credibility both as an actress and entertainer.

Translated into English by Gillian Hanna, A Woman Alone was written by acclaimed Italian playwrights Dario Fo and Franca Rame, two of Italy's best-known performers and political activists, Dario & Franco have seen the courage of their convictions and their commitment to political and social issues, involve them in numerous controversies with the state, the police, the censors, television, and the Vatican. One of the leading figures in modern farce and political drama, Dario Fo has written over 70 plays. His works have been translated into more than 30 languages, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997.

Daniela Lavender won the award for best actress at the Denver World Film Festival for her role in critically acclaimed British film Emotional Backgammon. She recently completed a European tour with the British Shakespeare Company's A Midsummer Night's Dream in which she played Titania/Hippolyta and has also appeared in the feature films: The Scientist, Ali G in Da House and Longitude.

Jason Greer produced while doubling up as Host at the opening night to a packed audience. "A Woman Alone" is the sort of play that makes you feel entertained in unexpected ways. A black comedy with a strong theme, "A Woman Alone" runs at the Tabard Theatre until 16 April.