Along with the institution of marriage, comes its nasty counterpart; adultery. As the title suggests, Confessions of the Other Woman (written by Valerie Sing Turner) is about the journey of a woman who finds herself in love with a married man. This type of storyline has already been explored numerous times in literature, movies, music, and art. How was this show going to be any different?
Eve (Valerie Sing Turner), is (as you could have guessed it) the other woman. The story ventures around the conflict Eve experiences with herself and others, while bearing the nasty title of ‘home wrecker’. She questions why it is so wrong to love Sam (Kevin Loring), just because he is married? The answer is obvious. She is breaking the first commandment of the sisterhood pact that all women are obliged to; Thou shall not steal another sister’s man. Don’t worry though, it’s not like she does this without repercussion. She is left alone and helpless, constantly waiting around for Sam to sneak away from his wife. Her friend is disappointed and unsupportive of the idea. She is weighed down by the guilt of it all. She feels as though she is not living up to her family’s honor, and spends some time talking to her deceased grandmother (Matt Ward) in some surreal universe she has created for herself. Her grandmother tells the story of Pandora’s Box, which becomes a symbol in the play (a concept so over-done that it would have been more effective to have someone sit on the stage and literally open a can of worms and throw them at the audience to symbolize what Eve is doing). There is nothing new to see here, folks.
What is the most disappointing part of Confessions? It never really goes anywhere. A pamphlet describing the plot starts out by stating, “What would you do if you met your soul mate—and he was married?” (Queue Alanis Morisette’s Ironic) You have to admit, that scenario would be pretty devastating. If he is your soul mate, then it must work out in the end, right? What kind of soul mate is fine being married to someone else instead of their real other half? The relationship on-stage between Eve and Sam is not believable. They did not seem like soul mates. They just seem lost, confused, and finding themselves amidst a mid-life crisis at the same time. Sure, they like the same things and enjoy sex, but does that make them soul mates? There was nothing else in the script or the action that suggested anything that made them seem like an exceptional couple. The characters and their relationship had no substance. There is nothing about them that evokes any kind of interest or concern about what will ultimately happen.
The strongest part of this performance is Matt Ward. He is a real triple threat, and has an incredible presence on stage. He plays Derek (Eve’s ex-husband), Poh-Poh (Eve’s grandmother), and the dancer. It is amazing how he is able to switch between playing the perfect husband, an oppressed old lady, and then move with exceptional grace through the dance numbers. Even though he is a supporting character, he steals the show and brings life to it. Hopefully we will be seeing more of this naturally talented individual in the future.
This production could be considered performance art. It is light in dialogue and heavy in interpretive images and dance. Digital images are projected onto screens that are quite effective in creating an imaginative and surreal set. Voice recordings are used to dictate the thoughts of the actors and emphasize some words or phrases. Together, the recordings and the images make it easy to distinguish between what is real and what is just a figment of Eve’s imagination. The dance sequences are not very intricate—which is likely due to Turner and Loring’s lack of dance experience. Sometimes the music, movement, and images seem choppy and just don’t have a good flow. Stylistically, the ideas are neat, but not as powerful as they were probably intended to be.
Overall, there are no surprises. Described as, “a work of vision and beauty; steamy, complex, and visceral,” this show does not live up to its claims. It is Turner’s first play, and you can tell. Though if you have yet to see Matt Ward in anything, I recommend that you give it a shot just to see how great he really is.