My pal Ty and I were among the handful of lucky folks on the waiting list who got in to see Dawna J. Wightman’s one night only performance of her one-woman show Life As A Pomegranate at the Flying Beaver Pubaret last night. A redux version of its spring premiere at Lazy Daisy’s Café – written and performed by Wightman, and directed/dramaturged by Ginette Mohr – the show has since travelled to NYC and will be returning there soon.
Wightman and I had been chatting via blog comments and that’s how I learned about this recent performance; she also told me that the play was quite different from the version I saw back in the spring – and she wasn’t kidding. We still have our misfit heroine Rozyee (Rosy) Fudge, who dreams of being a professional actor as she struggles with family obligations after being transplanted to small-town B.C., trying to “keep under the radar” to avoid rocking the boat that is her husband Arthur’s conservative outlook and job, and doing her best to support her troubled, chain-smoking mother back in Montreal.
The structure of the storytelling is more linear and chronological this time, and the characters – all played by Wightman – are each given a different weight. We still have Rozyee’s stoner neighbour Mo and Arthur’s snobby, sophisticated employee Sutton, along with Arthur and mom – with altered levels of impact. Arthur is less supportive of Rozyee’s dream, going as far as actively discouraging it in this revised version of the play. And the wicked witch in the mirror – her own internal voice of negativity – seems to be even more predominant. The stakes are much higher for Rozyee this time: her obstacles are more challenging and, in the end, she is faced with some serious life-changing decisions.
Rozyee’s indomitable spirit is still very much in evidence and the tone of the storytelling is by turns playful and heart-wrenching – and always magical. Our heroine is a sweet, child-like soul, wishing she could have a flap in her upper chest that she could open and show us all her jumbled up insides and feelings, and that we’d then feel okay to do the same – and we see a flash of this with Sutton. Rozyee still has that turquoise ball of creativity inside her, generating light that shoots out her fingertips. She still believes in herself and in magic and in her dreams.
It’s a pleasure to watch Wightman perform. She is a marvelous actor/storyteller, transitioning from character to character with ease. And a real pro when there were temporary technical difficulties with her body mic, which forced her to pause the show momentarily as sound tech Liz came up to fix the problem. She backed up the scene a bit and started over – all as if it had never happened.
I’d like to do an interview with Wightman and ask her about the changes – and the process. In the meantime, keep an eye out for Life As A Pomegranate and pay Rozyee a visit sometime. It’s a delightful, inspirational, joyful journey. And check out the Flying Beaver sometime – great food and a cozy, relaxed atmosphere. With thanks to Heather for getting us on the waiting list.