THEATRE RESPONSE: Miami Theater Center’s Sandbox Series: Ringing True by Rebecca Joy Fletcher,Directed by Michael Yawney

I AM GLAD I KNOW THE DIRECTOR: Miami Theater Center’s Sandbox Series:

Ringing True by Rebecca Joy Fletcher,Directed by Michael Yawney Glass


Bored. Rainy Saturday night. Have to see a one person play my friend Michael Yawney directed. Already  put it off a week. It’s really raining. Torrentially. Long drive to Miami. Have to see this. Make a cup of coffee.  Marketing has led us to believe it is about a Jewish Women, Rabbi’s and a wedding scam. Never saw the scam. Rebecca Joy Fletcher kvetching about her marriage proposal in a neurotic comic hour and a half one women show Ringing True. It’s a musical also. Make that two cups of coffee and a zanax.  Grab umbrella and go. Parking is easier here than any other theatre in South Florida, and that matters. There’s no lobby at the Miami Theatre Center Sandbox. Sitting in the rain. Director ignores me because a light has blown and they are videotaping it that night so he is running around trying get everything in order. He has directed a whole bunch of  solo performances since he collaborated with me so I feel “So 15 one person shows ago”. I’m here to see his work, it always good.He could stage the phone book and make it interesting. Do they still have phone books? He has directed and guided the solo works of  Heather Woodbury (As The Globe Warms), Rudi Goblen (PET), Bill Spring (Miss Vanilla and the Hustler), myself with Assurbanipal Babilla’s Something Uber Alles and a countless number of students in his position as a Professor at Florida International  University’s Department of Theatre. He should write the book on this.

House opens. The lady next to me feels her knock-off Gucci bag deserves a seat of it’s own. (look at the clasps, if they are plastic or cold you can tell it’s a fake ) Another patron with a huge smelly cup of Starbucks thinks her glasses deserve a seat of their own as well (readers from Walgreens.)

The play starts. Lights come up on a women wearing a body mic that is creeping around her head like Janet Jackson circa 1983. The theatre is tiny. I could throw a tomato and hit the back wall.

WTF. Getting angry, She can’t project over a few klezmer musicians in a tiny black box. (Theatrical amplification and voice training is a subject for another blog)

She starts. As expected, it is exactly as the marketing alluded too, except for the scam, I was waiting for a scam that was on the postcard.I missed it. Allan proposes to her. Blah blah blah. He presumptively resizes the ring. Blah blah blah. She freaks and runs away to Paris.

She’s looking for signs. Something to assure her she would be making the right decision. She meets an old women who gives her an old ring and then all of sudden with the most minimal physical gestures possible Fletcher becomes the old lady and effortlessly starts to delve back and forth into song and text with such ease and no sense of beginning or ending. The amplification allows her to approach the character with such effortless subtly and vocal clarity that director and the small Klezmer band is forgiven for the head mic.

Just this once.

She scouts Paris looking for the answer to her proposal. Poor Alan. Where is he? She meets a cabaret chanteuse slash lawyer for a Palestinian terrorist, the lawyer’s  admirer and a Rabbi Moskowitz who helps her to decipher her sudden dreams of the Talmud that she must have picked up as a child. What follows is a brave beautiful women looking for permission in her self to become part of a someone else. Her dreams of the apple orchard, enhanced by a simple yet effective lighting design are some of the play’s best moments.

Fletcher pulls this off deftly with such skill and with a minimal economy of movement. Fletcher and Yawney gave us an acting lesson on simplicity and making the difficult look easy. She has several dream sequence scenes, illustrated by her simply removing a hoodie and shoes and has scenes with a character that is portrayed by a glove on her hand. The simpler the staging the more engaging it became. This series is part of the Sandbox Series partially funded by the Knight Foundation. Couldn’t see any of the grant money on the stage, but sometimes the most minimal staging can cost the most, or the wonderfully talented Klezmer band is making out like a bandit. Is there a Klezmer union?

More people need to see this show. Sondheim has been trying to blend text into song seamlessly for years with different levels of success and this women with the help of director Michael Yawney have done it. Masterfully. The two are intertwined ,so beautifully that you forget if she’s singing or speaking for it is all delivered with such innocence and compassion. The audience is smiling. Fletcher and master director of solo performances Yawney  have constructed a piece that needs to be seen by more people. One of the best solo performances in South Florida in a long time. It was a whimsical journey, a heartfelt tale of women searching for something that was already there and in us as well. If this show pops up on  your radar check it out.

I am so glad I know the director.


Ringing True by Rebecca Joy Fletcher as part of the Miami Theater Center’s Sandbox Series. Direction by  Michael Yawney, Dramaturgy by Anita La Salva, Music Direction and Arrangement by Bob Goldstone, Stage Management by Samantha Metzelar, Lighting Design by Melissa Santiago Kennan, Band Leader and Guitarist Martin Hand, Accordionist-Rich Caruso,Violinist- Patricia Jancova, Chicago Direction by MT Cozzola, Chicago Composer- Stuart Rosenberg

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