GROUP: Rachel Holt
ATTENDED: Sat., Sept. 7, 6 p.m.
CLOSES: Sept. 15
BRIEF SELF-DESCRIPTION: “Nicole fell in love at fourteen, an affair that would last for more than fourteen years. Her parents tried to stop her, keep her safe. But Nicole was addicted from that first sweet kiss. How could she ever break up with heroin? A one-woman show written and performed by Rachel Holt. Based on a true story.”
WE THINK: Two Rachel Holts are at work in Surrender; unfortunately, they're working against each other.
Rachel Holt the actor is emotionally naked and raw, giving each character in this story of a young woman's addiction a genuine emotional center and specific physical life. Jennifer John's direction helps Holt move smoothly from one character to another.
Holt the playwright, however, gives the actor little to work with. While we're told in advance that Nicole's story is true — and we're given her story's happy ending in a program note — it's distressingly generic. Nicole, Mom, and Dad are mere confessional cyphers, with few distinguishing specifics or insights to make them real. Nicole's gangsta boyfriend is an awkward cliché. Surrender's anguish is emotionally real, but without context, we feel like we've walked in late and missed something.
Nicole eventually beats her addiction — I read it in the program! — but we never believe or care because her story lacks the specific details that make stories convincing and real. Our 45 minutes with her are both too long and too empty.
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