Review | She Persists: challenging

Pillsbury House Theatre, though March 24

Nora Montañez and Audrey Park in SHE PERSISTS. Photo by George Byron Griffiths.

She Persists (at Pillsbury House Theatre, through March 24) is a collection of 5 very short playlets which posits an America rent by a “great divide” – political, cultural, religious, racial. And maybe it is. Maybe those of us who choose to ignore this divide are putting on blinders, blissfully residing in happyhappy psychic geodesic domes, deliberately dumbing ourselves down, trying to live our little lives unaffected by the yawning divide. But we can’t, not really. So: maybe we need playwrights such as helpfully provided by Pillsbury, to educate us as to the error of our ways.

She Persists challenges. But just as often it frustrates. Playwright Aamera Siddiqui, for example, in the first play, I Voted, never tells us where the polling booth is located. Some state which maintains a list of disenfranchised Muslims. Not Minnesota, where the problems elaborated on by an angry Nora Montañez (a very nice turn; Montañez is an actor of intelligence and passion, which she demonstrates several times over in She Persists) would have been quickly resolved.

Writer Casey Llewellyn requires nearly the whole of The Team to tell us that the dorky senator in the cheap suit is Elizabeth Warren. Those of us who don’t follow politics (and why would you, imo, follow politics in the Age of Trump?) are out of luck. The anger developed by Ashawnti Sakina Ford, as powerful as it is, doesn’t really land when we don’t know who she’s angry at. Again, She Persists gives us a play that is effective on one level, frustrating on another.

The best play, May Yamoe…, by Christina Florencia Castro, is so good I don’t think I’ll describe it to you. See She Persists. The play is a hoot! Montañez thrills. Suburban matrons. They’re… I’ll say no more.

Check out the cast! Sara Richardson, the aforementioned Ashawnti Sakina Ford, Audrey Park, the ever-marvelous Nora Montañez. Under the firm and intelligent direction of Noël Raymond, they are all wonderful.

John Olive is a writer living in Minneapolis. His book, Tell Me A Story In The Dark, about the magic of bedtime stories, has been published. John’s The Voice Of The Prairie has been performed 100 plus times and ditto Minnesota Moon and his adaptation of Sideways Stories From Wayside School. His The Summer Moon won a Kennedy Center Award For Drama. John has won fellowships from the Bush Foundation, The McKnight Foundation and from The National Endowment For The Arts. Please visit John’s informational website.

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