BWW Review: Shrewd Productions LADY MACBETH AND HER PAL MEGAN Charms and Delights
Go see Megan Gogerty's LADY MACBETH AND HER PAL MEGAN. If a review could start and end with one sentence this would be it. But that would make for a particularly short review, and I've got to give you a little more information than that.
Produced by Shrewd Productions and performed at the ever-evolving and improving Santa Cruz Theatre (keep it up Ryan Salinas!) LADY MACBETH AND HER PAL MEGAN shines a light on the complexities of being a woman in theatre, comedy and the United States in the 21st century. Written by University of Texas alum Megan Gogerty, the show is, er... a kind of stand-up play? A monologue performed as a stand up act? It defies description in a way, but it helps to imagine it as a genuinely funny, touching, and tangled one woman show performed by the adorable Eva McQuade.
Lady Macbeth becomes a kind of hero for Gogerty, who sets off to prove that she can play the character even though she's referred to as the "human equivalent of a golden retriever." (I've been referred to as EXACTLY the same kind of woman, so believe me, as an actor I feel her pain.) Believing she would make a great Lady Macbeth, Gogerty has spent a good deal of time exploring the character (seems fair, since her degree is in playwriting). She's able however, to cleverly weave Shakespeare's character into her own biographical journey of working as a female in stand up, being a woman in the 21st century, and what it means when we embrace the multidimensional possibilities of our authenticity as women. Dealing with her own ambivalence about womanhood, McQuade as Megan takes us through a wonderfully engaging hour or so of Gogerty's evolving interpretation of Lady Macbeth's ambition and the Witches anarchy. Twisting and winding through the experience of being a female comedian in today's culture, it doesn't seem as though the concept could result in the rich tapestry of thought and emotion it provides. But it does.
Directed with a light hand by Shannon Grounds, McQuade uses to full effect all of the wide and narrow stage that Santa Cruz has to offer. Keeping our interest in a play that is a biographical monologue is not for the faint of heart but by using Patrick Anthony's uncomplicated set to it's best advantage and McQuade's charm to its fullest, Grounds makes sure we are never bored.
McQuade is a pure delight, engaging us from her seemingly unassuming entrance until after the curtain call. She sparkles, broods, and invites us into Gogerty's world and endears us to her as if she is, well, a... a golden retriever. But she's so much more than that in the end: a child, a comedian, a woman, a friend, a wife, a sage, a witch.
Shrewd Productions delivers on their mission to champion "unique perspectives and emerging artists" (particularly female and LGBT voices) with this production. There's a strong message conveyed in LADY MACBETH AND HER PAL MEGAN, that can't be conveyed here. It's truly an experience. But I can tell you this: it's a funny and satisfying evening worth of validation for women and those who love them.
What a great play. Now, go see LADY MACBETH AND HER PAL MEGAN.
LADY MACBETH AND HER PAL MEGAN
Directed by Shannon Grounds
June 21-July 6
Thurs-Sun at 8pm
Monday, July 1 at 8:00 PM
Santa Cruz Theater
1805 E. 7th St.
Austin, TX 78702
Tickets available here.
Running time approximately one hour
Photo credit: Errich Petersen