Queens Girl is a one-woman show written and performed by Lauren LoGuidice. It is playing here in New York at a venue called Stage Left on January 29, 30, and 31st. From there, it moves on to San Francisco. I was contacted out of the blue by a publicist and opted to attend. My +1 had to back out. My alternate +1 likewise found himself busy. I was frankly too lazy to enlist a third +1. So I attended alone. I was one of two press members in the audience. I am still not entirely sure why I was contacted.
I am informed by Ms. LoGuidice’s website that the show was once called Skinny Girl, but there is no specific reason given for this title change. My own titular preference is Queens Girl. And having seen the show, my own preference would have involved less multimedia and more performance. I suppose the idea here was to suggest distractions which present one from being true to one’s self, but bombarding the audience with often needless visual information and regrettably obvious musical cues (e.g., The Godfather theme playing when we learn about the Italian neighborhood Ms. LoGuidice grew up in) only succeeded in this reviewer wondering why the real Ms. LoGuidice was still hiding, and why she cared so much about appealing to the crowd. The show’s truest moment came with Ms. LoGuidice impersonating a homophobic ruffian shrieking at “Ms. LoGuidice” to leave the neighborhood. That such a moment comes from the portrayal of another figure reveals the show’s central problem. We learn that Ms. LoGuidice has spent all of her adult life running to other places. Bombay, San Francisco, the Meatpacking District. But to what end? We never know. The multimedia proves too intoxicating.
Now ancillary information is sometimes a regrettable obstacle that hinders an individual from telling the truth. I can tell you that the show’s running time was sometime between 32 and 37 minutes. Had my cell phone battery not expired, I would be able to give you a precise figure. The other journalist attending the show, who was diffident about revealing his name and outlet to me, informed me that the show was 37 minutes. But he had determined this fact from looking at his own cell phone once the show had concluded. It read 8:37 PM. There was then a minor but conciliatory point of argument between us in the elevator ride down over whether the show started at 8:00 PM or 8:05 PM. I advocated the latter time, even though I truthfully wasn’t paying attention and suspected I was wrong. This was not what I would call a prevarication. I was merely being jocose. The idea here was to present a possibly erroneous piece of temporal information for this gentleman to correct me on. But I apparently conveyed my position to him with some entirely unintentional authority, a deadpan confidence that had him believing that the show had started at 8:05 PM. And even though I began to get the sense that I was probably wrong, I politely agreed that the running time might possibly be 32 minutes instead of the 37 minutes he had initially estimated. We both agreed that it was a bit unusual to attend a theatrical presentation that lasted considerably shorter than our subway ride to Stage Left.
Stage Left itself is located on the fifth floor of an edifice located on West 37th Street. There is nothing, aside from the space’s proximity on the western side of the building, that suggested a possible origin for the name. Perhaps there was another imputation behind the name: fringe theater that came out of left-field. But none of this really matters.
I can also report that I was one of only five men in the audience. My audience estimate was 25 people, most appearing to be friends of Ms. LoGuidice. I took notes in a five subject notebook — a knockoff that I had purchased two nights before for $2.79 from a small shop in Tribeca that was something between a bodega and a pharmacy. The pen I used to take notes — a black Uniball — was on its last legs. In looking at the eight pages of notes I took, I am struck by two things: the gradual waning of the ink and my own fierce efforts in the dark to force more ink on the pages. Given that I also took notes on Wednesday night during the Barnes and Noble New York Times event and did not use any of them, I think that I will do the same for this piece. But I will present one note, picked entirely at random, that might give you some sense of my theatergoing experience: “Relies too much on music.”
Those last three paragraphs may be interesting to my friends, but they don’t really tell you anything.
© 2009, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.