Review by Amy M. Frateo
Leigh Curran’s WHY WATER FALLS is one of those rare moments on stage where you feel as if the performer is talking right to you. That’s the level of honesty and power she gave to every one of the 90 minutes she stood on stage all alone. Well, not really alone.
The play opens with the barefoot androgynous author grumbling over a quick writing assignment on a personal topic she has agreed to undertake as a favor to a friend. In short order, this frustration of Leigh’s opens the door to a series of self-discoveries laid before a very appreciative audience (many talked back to her, even answering her rhetorical questions).
At the play’s foundation is the question Leigh seems plagued with… children … to have or have not. Leigh chose to have not.
The play then whisks us into a world of twos. Two husbands – each with a pregnancy and subsequent abortion; two characters – both girls – created for Leigh’s novel but quickly we see they are there as the personification of her aborted children; her dual career as an actress and writer happens on two coasts; even Leigh’s sexuality is in twos – as she matter-of-factly discusses her bi-sexuality.
Leigh Curran – simply put – is a powerhouse on the authentic off-off Broadway stage at the 13th Street Playhouse. The wordiness of her play is never a problem with Leigh’s great talent at weaving back and forth between playing herself and playing her two characters. She weaves her resume pictures and even anecdotes about her career as a teaching artist in deftly. In the hands of a lesser talent the second half might sound like a commercial but in the hands and voice of this master storyteller, it is an exciting plot development – and even twist – with an amusing story of a nasty student who saves the day.
Couple this really enthralling piece with the surroundings – the authenticity of the venerable 13th Street Playhouse – you walk out on to the street feeling like you attended a powerful passionate sermon about life and how to live it.
The press materials indicate a high in standards at the 13th Street Playhouse. Plays like WHY WATER FALLS and players like Leigh Curran prove that a true statement.
Why Water Falls runs through November 12 – a worthy trip – then stay for one the late night programs.