Photo courtesy of Georgina Tremayne
A Woman of Many Parts
A Woman of Many Parts, the latest project from playwright and director Hunter Tremayne, generously lathers intrigue upon plot twists. It’s a humorous and daring piece of theatre that throws bizarre characters together and doesn’t shy away from absurdity.
The play opens with a woman soliloquising while running a brush of blue paint on her skin, as if she is tracing the very veins that flow through her. This, we learn, is Connie—artist, feminist, mother to the teenaged Blue Sky and daughter of the mysterious Isobel DeWynter. Connie is the object of her mad-scientist neighbour Henry’s affections, but she loathes his quest for the perfect woman. Skeptical in love, she prefers the company of Russian artist Sergei (solely to service her physical need for sex). Isobel tries to bring Henry and her daughter together, but her intervention has more to do with her interest in Henry’s ability to bring hampsters back from the dead than her daughter’s happiness.
It’s with great skill (and evident enjoyment) that the actors convey these characters—at once stereotypes and layered personalities. The sexy foreign maid, for instance, has a few PhDs under her apron, Sergei and Isobel both have spy pasts, and Henry’s sexist attitude is somewhat softened by the revelation of his past wounds.
The three female leads are made distinct to the point of symbolism; Isobel signifies the fiercely intelligent mind, Connie represents the female power of the body, and Blue Sky is the intuition of the soul. The three are a testament to the myriad strengths of women, but this celebration of female power is undermined with the shock ending of the first act.
The event gives Henry the chance to piece together the parts of the perfect woman, and the audience is caught between despair and laughter—just as we begin to get to know these three women and the intricacies of their relationships, tragedy strikes, but in a darkly comedic way.
The second half of the show tackles difficult terrain—characters in limbo, quests for love, and three women battling to control a single body. For this, actor Gemma Louise Poole deserves special mention, as she gives a convincing portrayal of diverse characters; grandmother, mother and daughter.
As there are so many narrative threads woven together, it’s unsurprising that a few too many are left hanging from this complex web. At times the dialogue is a little repetitive, with characters telling us their views, rather than showing them. This means that some of the scenes tend to drag on longer than desired. Despite this, the final scene is crisp and clever, leaving the audience with a wry smile and a lingering question or two.
A Woman of Many Parts is highly entertaining, a little convoluted but never too complicated to follow. It’s great for a laugh and definitely worth seeing.
A Woman of Many Parts closes on Sunday June 30th. For more information about the event, click here.