Multi-talented and multi-faceted actress and writer Lauren Weedman shines in this high-energy and provocative solo show — Tammy/Lisa – From Misery to Meaning. A post-modern mashup of Robin Williams and Lily Tomlin, Weedman dazzles with homespun honesty and urban sophistication. What other comedian could even try to combine Loretta Lynn with post-structuralism – and do it with depth and hilarity?
Mixing conceits from cable-show host to solo confessional and rowdy cabaret, Weedman takes the audience on a whirlwind tour of emotion, down-home philosophy and biting social commentary. Weedman draws on her own life experiences from a first kiss to a crumbling marriage, even as she creates a whole menagerie of entertaining and deftly drawn characters.
Her rapid-fire, stutter-step delivery keeps the evening moving at breakneck speed and she rarely slows down for the obligatory, stagey moments. Weedman’s chronicle is a perfect fit for the post-modern cyclone of information overload and emotional bombardment. Far from a clichéd tale of burdened womanhood, Weedman races through heartbreak and disappointment, always sprinting into an uncertain future.
Like many other great performers who mastered the solo performance – Jonathan Winters, Robin Williams and Lily Tomlin are prime examples – Weedman transcends the form. Sure, there are jokes – but mostly pitched with an ironic, offhanded twist. Even the emotional moments aim higher, reaching for not only universal appeal, but also for a deeper, even metaphysical comment on the human condition.
Weedman’s work ultimately defies definition and transcends genre, which in some cases may work against her in the type-casting, niche-y environment of popular entertainment. But make no mistake, Weedman is an artist who will continue to have an impact on our culture across a broad landscape.
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