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Changing Shoes: A One-Woman Show with Tina Sloan
a One Woman Show
CATEGORY :
by Tina Sloan and Joe Plummer

COMPANY : Independant Producer
VENUE : 14th Street Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 3547

SHOWING : September 25, 2009 - October 08, 2009

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

A chance encounter with an old pair of shoes sends actress Tina Sloan on a journey through her past, forcing her to make the toughest decision of her career. The play is a hilarious, poignant and inspirational story of one woman’s quest to find the meaning of her life.


CAST & CREW LIST
Writer/Composer Joe Plummer
Writer/Composer Tina Sloan
Director Joe Plummer
Crew Gina Guesby
Crew Terrence Jenkins
Crew Brittany Loffert
Crew Ted Westby
Cast Tina Sloan
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Classé
by Dedalus
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
4.0
I have to confess to going into “Changing Shoes” with low expectations. Here was another vanity act from an actress “of a certain age” attempting to find legitimacy on the legitimate stage. Shades of “Curvy Widow,” the Cybil Shepherd debacle from a few years back! Add to that my own lack of enthusiasm for soap operas in general, and an unfamiliarity with Tina Sloan in particular, and, well, what is there to hope for?

To my utter surprise, “Changing Shoes” turns out to be a nicely constructed monologue, and Ms. Sloan turns out to be a relaxed and charming performer, not afraid to make a little bit of fun at herself, or to step into the characters of some of the others in her life.

For those (like me) who have never drunk the soap opera kool-aid, Tina Sloan has played the same character (“Lillian Raines”) for twenty-six years (and 158 episodes) on the soap opera “The Guiding Light.” When the curtain rises, we find her trying to find the “perfect shoes” to wear to an awards event after the recent cancellation of the popular show. Each pair of shoes triggers a memory of a different segment of her life, and we see, via videotape, some of her early work in commercials as well as some of her “Guiding Light” moments. Throughout the brisk 70-minute monologue, we share her adventures as a young girl in Paris, her rebellion from her mother (who deemed acting “too déclassé” for her), her life as a soap opera icon, and other “chapters” in the serial that is her life.

Throughout all, what is evident is a profound joy in acting, a devotion to her craft, and an attractive ability to laugh at herself – I especially enjoyed her wildly inappropriate “ensemble” for a “spirit-quest” up Mount Kilimanjaro. She has an ability to hit the correct emotional buttons during a sequence with her Iraq-War veteran son, but I suppose, this ability is a necessity for long-term soap survival. More than that, though, she and director Joe Plummer have crafted a monologue that is filled with amusing anecdotes, emotional highs and lows, and seeming throw-away incidents that pay off later in a big way. Although some specific lines can be written off as banal and simplistic (void of any lyrical “zing”), I nevertheless found them completely appropriate for the Tina Sloan “character” they have created.

There are also some odd omissions – we find out a lot about her grown son, but precious little about her husband. She starts off with her trip to Paris at 19, so we learn nothing about her life as a child (though there are enough interesting hints to make the omission missed).

Yes, this is a vanity project. Ms. Sloan is asking us to plunk down big bucks so she can talk about herself for over an hour. She shows us videos of her younger self pitching everything under the sun, as well as her favorite “my life on television” moments. She gets to throw on a number of character voices (and postures) so she can recreate scenes from her life. And, I daresay, “Guiding Light” fans will be drooling over all the “behind the camera” tidbits.

What is totally unexpected is that those who wouldn’t watch a soap on a dare also find her monologue compelling and moving and funny. And her passionate love of acting is the thread that shouts out to her audience. As she steps into each pair of shoes, she lets us walk in them with her, as she revisits different chapters in her serial life.

And, for my money, she is truly a Classé Act!

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)



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