See my Valentine:
One Woman Show Endearing to Audience
Many people may already be familiar with Shirley Valentine since this British production made its debut on the big screen a couple of years ago. Those who are not should rush to see Tina Packer's one woman extravaganza.
In two acts, the show's heroine, Shirley Valentine manages to portray the dreary existence of a working class English housewife and her quest to break out of the confines of her kitchen. She confides her deepest sexual secrets--namely her absence of orgasm--and travels with the audience to the Greek Isles, where she takes a lover. With humor and spunk, Shirley makes a new life for herself.
dir. Patrick Swanson
at the Charles Playhouse
Through March 8
At first glance, this tale of one woman's mid-life crisis may not appeal to a college audience, and it is true that the capacity crowd at the Thursday night show consisted of the mid-twenties and up crowd. But Shirley has a lot to say about life, love and happiness--universal themes any crowd can relate to. Her speech about sexual satisfaction (or rather the lack thereof) could have come from the lips of any lusting student. She rather wittily refers to her orgasm as undiscovered territory and is just waiting for her "Christopher Columbus" to arrive.
As the repressed Shirley Valentine, Tina Packer creates an entirely believable character. When Shirley repeatedly converses with her kitchen wall, Packer makes this habit normal. She pokes fun at Shirley while sympathizing with her. The result is a fascinating and funny character who is fully aware of the ludicrousness of her provincialism at the same time that she laments it.
With this self-conscious sense of her character's relationship to the audience, Packer pulls off this one-woman, two-act monologue, completely told from her perspective. We watch Shirley change from a timid, untraveled housewife into a contented and sophisticated isle-dweller. The audience cheers at her awaited sexual self-discovery with Costos, a hip Greek bistro owner. We applaud her decision to make a new life for herself on the island. By the end, the audience completely identifies with Shirley's declaration that she has not run from life but has found it.
While Shirley Valentine is completely removed from the average angst-ridden undergrad, Shirley Valentine addresses the hopes and fears of everyone. Seeing Shirley grab the chance to live her life could shed light on your own.