BWW Review: LAUREN WEEDMAN DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE Brings Laughter, Tears, and an Identity Crisis to Portland Center Stage
If you saw THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF PORTLAND either of the times it played in the Ellen Bye Studio at Portland Center Stage, then you already know what kind of performer Lauren Weedman is -- the kind who will get you laughing so hard you snort and then sideswipe you with a painful truth that instantly turns your guffaw into a gasp. And then she'll do it again, and again, and (unless you're a robot), she'll get you every time.
In her new one-woman show, Lauren Weedman DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, Lauren wrestles with her own demons of infidelity leading to divorce through the perspective of her alter ego Tami Lisa. Lauren wasn't born Lauren. She was adopted and, through some strange law, each of her birth parents was allowed to choose a name. One chose Tami and the other chose Lisa. In this performance, Lauren imagines life as Tami Lisa -- a country music singer who hosts a Laugh-In style variety show. Through the music of Lucinda Williams, Wynonna Judd, and other country singers, Tami Lisa works through her feelings after discovering her husband slept with the babysitter.
One of the first words that comes to mind when I think about Lauren Weedman is energetic. There are probably 20 characters in the show, and Lauren plays them all. For a full 90 minutes, she talks, sings, dances at every opportunity, and hardly takes time (or lets you take time) for a breath. It's both exhilarating and exhausting to watch.
While the plot of the show centers on the issues of being betrayed and getting divorced, the themes are applicable to most anyone, for example, discovering who you really are, or finding yourself alone, or perhaps realizing that you're not who you thought you were. This universality is what makes Lauren Weedman's brand of comedy / performance so funny and so emotional. Whoever you are and whatever your life has been like, I'm betting you'll find something in this show that hits close to home.
Photo credit: Patrick Weishampel/blankeye.tv