A WHITE WOMAN ON THE RED ROAD
January 31st, 2002
There only two things you need to know about Stephanie Nash's "A White Woman on The Red Road." 1) You should see it. 2) You probably don't know you should see it. (How WOULD you know? except by the sizzling word-of-mouth that is fizzing through the insider theater world here like flash powder headed toward a powder keg.)
Okay, three things. It's a one-woman show that is rare enough in dramatic form - minimalist, serious and funny and important all at the same time - that it stands out satisfyingly from all the other dramatic dregs out there which spend a lot on splash and flash but end up having no soul.
Okay, four things. Stephanie Nash has the kind of eyes and ears that the best standup, observational humorists have. She knows how to mine the universal from the particular. That means its not just about her, that there is going to be a point, and it's going to move you, it's going to challenge you, it's going to expand you. And you are going to laugh while its happening.
The humor is funny, but its funny in a way that is satisfying. I think of Dave Barry -- whose prose and imagery can leave the reader in stitches for a few minutes but feeling empty -- and a master like James Thurber or E. B. White, whose writing helps ratchet up one's understanding of the human condition. Hers is of this latter, more distinguished school. (For comparison, I think also, of Lily Tomlin's "Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe")
Okay five. Stephanie Nash is also a great storyteller and an engaging performer. There is lots of gold and no dross in "White Woman " At one-hour, this is a distilled piece, with nothing crammed in that is not essential, and all that is essential pieced together like a master work. It moves fast, delivers fast, and often.
What's it about? It's about spirituality and growth, sweat lodges and vision quests. Its about thirst and fulfillment. It's about darkness and rain and dreams. Its about NOT taking a four-day luxury cruise. It's about prayer, meditation, self-realization and a bear with a telegram.
It's addressed to her, but its message is for all of us.
Writer for Christian Science Monitor
Emails from audience members:
"I thought you were brilliant and thoroughly enjoyed the performance. it was both funny and educational. You have a tremendous gift of being able to demonstrate truth and spiritual principles in a way that almost anyopne can understand. I can't wait until everyone in the world knows the name Stephanie Nash. At that point the world will be a better place."
"Thank you so much for an evening that filled both Joe and I with laughter and tears. You had a room full of people who once more experienced your journey right along with you. You are amazing and oh so talented. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
What are the dates of the two [extended] shows - I would love to tell everybody I know so they can experience your Vision Quest too. Joe and I are still talking about what you went through in those four days - You are a special person with a great deal of inner strength!"
"[My mother] has been talking about your show - she is totally overwhelmed by your talent. she came back after the show saying it was awesome and the best work of your life,... then, she raved about the standing room-only and standing ovations, and how everyone enjoyed your humor and could relate to every situation. Tonight she claimed it was the most spiritual experience of her life and she wakes up in the night realizing the humor of every sentence. It is her dream that everyone experiences this show. she is offering financial rewards for anyone who will drive with her to see it a 2nd time."
"Hi, Stephanie. I really enjoyed "A White Woman on the Red Road," which I saw last Thursday. The writing and execution were both very impressive. Congratulations!"
"What a great evening of theatre. I was mesmerized. (I originally didn't want to come, but am so glad I did -- although I think I've never been so thirsty! You made it all so real. I was engaged yet laughing the whole time. Good job! Thanks."
"Dear Stephanie, I enjoyed your show so much. I felt like I was there with you during the whole thing. I heard the sounds, smelled the smells. You made me think about so many things in my own life. You have such a gift."
"I got so much from your show -- but I want to see it at least 2 more times. There were so many lessons -- without being 'preachy.' It was fun. But I need to come back because I think there's so much more I can absorb. I bet I'd hear different things each time. Please tell me when you'll be doing it again. Thank you."
"I wanna do a vision quest! I want a complete experience like you shared with us the other night. Thanks so much for telling your personal story in such a fun way, that it felt like it was my experience. (Also, I appreciate your website.)"
"What a great story! You tell it with such expression -- with your whole body. I was moved & had a great time. I'll be thinking about this for a while."
"I loved your show. I told so many people about it. The first thing my mom said after watchin it was "No way Ashley! Don't even think about it!" She knew that you had opened my eyes to a whole new journey I could explore. A vision quest! I have to admit...you are very brave. I think I would last 30 min. in the dark before I started to run for it.
[ to be continued when we have more time...]