The road to self can be a very bumpy one – even bumpier is the road to finding your other half – unless that other half is yourself? The need for that special someone is the favorite topic of most of our happiest mediums, being the center crux in hundreds of books, movies and theatre. Written by Jimmy Hogg & the bubbly Christel Bartelse, ONEymoon is an entertaining if sometimes convoluted look into finding solitary happiness and going all the way – so far as to marrying oneself and taking oneself to a lush tropical “all you can drink” Caribbean honeymoon – with sexy bartender included!
Most of the play is set at Ms. Bartelse’s wedding and honeymoon. Love or dread audience interaction, this is how we are soon transformed into her wedding guests, family members and wedding crashers; at certain points audience members are brought on stage to read colorful toasts to the newly self-wed. We are also witness to some not so great online dating adventures that would make anyone decide to say no to the dating experience.
ONEymoon has simple yet compelling moments where the story soars. When our sad if not courageous heroin tries to replace a smoke detector and struggle to the point of resignation, and when she performs her intoxicated tap dance in attempts to seduce a stranger are two instances that come to mind as quite effective. Other moments seem to be there to merely entertain, which is understandably needed in a solo-show, yet I encourage Ms. Bartelse to play around in finding other mundane instances that she can turn into vulnerable stage magic. A lot of time was spent in recreating more than familiar wedding traditions and mishaps that did little to get to the core of the story: Can we be happy by ourselves, or do we need that ideal mate?
There is a smart witty quality to her writing (for instance trying to read Anna Karenina and not being able to retain the hefty story with the island distractions and later referencing her suicide) yet jumping from wedding to honeymoon and back was another disservice to the story, a most popular and oft-used style by emerging writers that does not prove to always be effective and polished when dealing with a solo-show.
Do not fret, all is saved by the gravitas of Ms. Bartelse’s performance, she captivates the audience with her genuine spunk, desperation and clear portrayal of a woman in search of self happiness. Her love and dedication to the piece is evident and that is to be admired and celebrated.
~~~ONEymoon (A Honeymoon for One) Created & performed by Christel Bartelse
Presented by Dutch Girl Productions Toronto, ON Canada
UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place) $16
Wed 2/23 @ 6pm, Sat 2/26 @ 7pm, Sun 2/27 @ 2:30pm, Mon 2/28 @ 7:30pm, Wed 3/2 @ 10:30pm, & Thu 3/3 @ 6pm
FRIGID New York Festival 2011 runs February 23-March 6 at The Kraine Theater & The Red Room (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Ave and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1sr Ave and Ave A). Tickets ($10-$16) may be purchased online at www.FRIGIDnewyork.info or by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444. All shows will run 60 minutes long or less.