“If Women Rose Rooted” reviewed by Robert Liebowitz
‘The Future is Female” the tee-shirt proudly proclaims, and there can be little doubt that much of that statement is either true, or about to be.
Overdue or not, women’s stories are being told, and told with a fury; the latest entry being “If Women Rose Rooted‘, written collectively by a group of five females headed by Melissa Mowry, and presented by The Tank.
The play starts off with a bang–four women (Marcella Adams, Titania Galliher, Lucy Lewis, and Jessica Panora) are four New York City 20ish-early-30-something ladies caught up in the trappings of daily urban life–mindless work, preposterous subway rides home to Brooklyn, and the sense of a never-ending nightmare that one will never wake up from. Building on that we start to bathe in the unique story of the African-American woman on stage (played ably by Ms. Adams), who shouts out to the world the best line of the play–“I’m an African American woman, born to be a punching bag…” The exposition has been laid bare in an expert manner, and now their stories are going to be told in a dramatic, compelling manner. Unfortunately, that does not happen.
Right after, the play soon descends into confusion,, and then into Pretension-Land, where it never quite leaves. “…Rose..” is peppered with grown women singing known songs written for children a whopping three times (are they now their younger version of themselves? Are they the same age? Very confusing), and dancing for several significant stretches without any rhyme or reason–just aimless gestation that had no bearing on the play.
There was not one exchange of dialogue between two (or three) characters, a very peculiar choice, which meant the heavy lifting of the drama was left to the toolboxes that each actress possessed; one can only go so far when all you’re left to say is one fortune-cookie mantra after another, and when all movement can be summarily dismissed as aimless, repetitive or indecipherable.
The ladies did their best with the material, but whoever was ultimately responsible for the script that was created–probably the director Ms. Mowry–should be mindful that, even though the future is female, their stories need to be told in a more compelling, entertaining, coherent way.