Belvoir Downstairs, April 18, 2013
Lally Katz has invented the play you write when not writing a play. Stories I Want To Tell You In Person bubbled into her head when Belvoir had actually commissioned her to write about the Global Financial Crisis.
It’s not even close. The only financial crisis is Katz burning her money on visiting psychics, although given that the swindlers in question were in New York they may also have advised the geniuses behind the GFC.
Stories I Want To Tell is as near as you get to a one-woman play without being one, Katz sharing it with her subconscious, a bear and a dolphin (although the dolphin’s not real). It’s as close as you’ll find to a stand-up comedy routine while being a play. Katz just talks to us. The particular triumph is that it often feels improvised, even though fully scripted. All the time it is funny. Wildly, fall-about funny.
Not only is Katz a skilful story-teller, she is also a natural performer, despite only one previous credit as an actress. Playing yourself may not sound like acting, but you try doing it on stage without becoming stilted, and see how you go.
She also impersonates a few people, including those shifty psychics she seeks out for insight on her great dilemma: whether she can have writing and love, or only one. They insist she has been unable to enjoy both because of a curse. Of course we all have a good giggle at Lally being cursed, except that she was recently hospitalised, delaying the opening of Stories by four weeks.
Rather than trying to make this non-play slick, Katz and director Anne-Louise Sarks have left the nuts and bolts of the process amusingly obvious, right down to the “Stand Here” and “Exit” instructions taped to the floor.
Other theatre companies will now be madly commissioning Katz just to see what she comes up with instead of the commission.
Until May 26.