Theatre Review: ‘Commencing’

‘Commencing’ written by award-winning indie playwright Jane Shepard was funny, sharp, and modern. Kelli (Laura Nargi) is excited for her blind date with Arlin (Paula Deming), who she assumes is a man. To her surprise, Arlin is a lesbian woman – and thus, they engage in controversial conversations as they try to make the most of their ‘date’. Their honesty and openness with each other leads to intense discussions, dissecting gender and sexual norms. As foils of each other, they debate on what it means to be a woman, and it’s hilarious.

The costume and set design’s simplicity makes the play universal; it could have happened in any city between any two girls. The contrast of the outfits – Kelli in a cheetah print top and mini skirt, and Arlin in a loose fitting suit and parka – show the external, surface differences between girly girls and butch girls. The emotion of Arlin and Kelli seemed genuine, with a real tension. When they got into a flow, their chemistry was fantastic, however, there were a few times when lines were stumbled over, bursting the flow and authenticity of their personalities. By their first performance on the 13th, I am sure their lines will be flawless and their chemistry will be flowing.

The play ‘Commencing’ explores straight and gay women’s cultures, and there are just enough feminist rants to give the play the political punch that it needs. It was sharply critical of our everyday life. In a time when women no longer have to be maidens in distress to land a man, but can just be themselves and land a man or a woman, when the hookup culture feels like everyone is having one night stands, and when it feels like everyone is partying and drinking, this play engages and disproves these stereotypes. It is an empowering play, performed by two empowering women.

So if you’re in LA this summer, be sure to catch a performance of ‘Commencing’!

Performances: Saturday, June 13 2015, 7:00pm, Sunday, June 14 2015, 2:00pm, Friday, June 26 2015, 9:00pm, Saturday, June 27 2015, 7:00pm.

Location: The Complex Theatre, Shepard Studio – 6746 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038

Tickets: $12

Special Offer: Use discount code ‘COMMENCE’ for $2 off when purchasing.

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Original Article on The Tribe