“Hide! Hide! Hide!”
These three words are spoken with such fierce honesty, it felt as if everyone sitting in the room might suddenly jump to their feet and retreat, their true lives being revealed, all those twisted, haunting, childhood secrets that get stored away inside a rusting, candy can then suddenly ripped to pieces by Linda Manning’s, self-written, breath stealing one-woman show, PERFECT LOVE, directed by Gretchen Cryer.
When was the last time you felt vulnerable as an audience member?
Director, Gretchen Cryer, is a legend in New York City circles for her world-class, unique ability to direct one-person shows. And she creates formidable magic with three ingredients: a creased poster of Robert Redford, a bar stool and her actress/writer, Linda Manning. She makes you feel the quietest moments with the ease of a single glance, then crushes us with Manning’s visceral courage to tell us “what happened.” There are no rehearsed emotional spikes or one-off jokes, it’s simply the truth and Cryer’s direction of Manning adds up to the most beautiful revelation for any artist: you are enough.
It is a journey no one sitting in the audience could take their eyes off of – because if you did – Manning just might have leapt from the stage and pinned you to the ground asking “are you listening?!” Then await your answer; one-half smile, one-half roar.
This world is full with brave and honest performances, but not quite like this, not a single moment felt forced or rang false. The laughing, tear swelling, wanting to duck, hide & run: it was all inevitable. It was the sheer force of her work, her truth-telling, her deep dive into the known and not knowing how she might resurface that made us feel all the things we needed to feel.
Not one false moment. Am I wrong?
Just ask the the cheering audience who leapt to their feet at the end of her performance.
An audience never lies. And neither does the heart. Work that comes from the heart lands on the hearts of others.
Continuation of this production is in talks and I hope, truly hope, any producer who values electrifying stage work will contact Ms. Manning and offer support. She deserves it, as well as, her director, Ms. Cryer, and gifted sound designer, Jono Hill. Yes, that was the extent of her creative team, and let us not forget her producer, Mike Pinney.
We live in a time when women STILL cannot speak many truths without being morally, personally, socially bludgeoned, but if you are seeking inspiration to not only “speak” the truth, but “live” the truth …
You MUST see this show. Thanks for coming out of hiding, Linda Manning, and sharing your courage.
Maureen Hahner/WIN: Writers Innovative Network/Founder: http://www.maureenpaynehahner.com