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Arts and Entertainment

One-Woman Show "Wish I Had a Sylvia Plath" Tackles Mortality Without Being Morose

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Sylvia Plath's alter ego, Esther Greenwood of The Bell Jar, is the focal point of the award winning play Wish I Had a Sylvia Plath, now making its west coast debut at The Lounge Theatre. The 75 minute, intermission-free, one-woman show picks up in Esther’s life at the point where Sylvia’s met its end, mixing the poet’s life story with that of the protagonist she created. Esther’s life flashes before her eyes and ours on stage, as videos of characters from her life are projected on the walls and surfaces of the kitchen where Sylvia died with her head in the oven.

Petite powerhouse Amy Davidson, perhaps best known to audiences as John Ritter’s middle child Kerry from 8 Simple Rules, plays Esther. Amy artfully voices most of the characters with whom Esther interacts in the final hallucinatory moments of her life. Esther’s mother (played by a Mad Men-esque costumed Sharon Lawrence), father, daughter, philandering husband and even her own oven (which introduces itself as Olson) vie for her attention, chattering away as she tries to focus on the final poem she wishes to finish.

Though set in the tragic moments before our heroine succumbs to suicide, Wish I had a Sylvia Plath manages to express hilarity, absurdity and naked sincerity. This is possible due to both the talents of Miss Davidson and the playwright Edward Anthony (which it turns out is the nom de plume of the actress who originated the role of Esther), who are able to convey irreverent humor without being irreverent and deal with mortality without being morose.

Wish I Had a Sylvia Plath runs through April 17, 2011.
Tickets: (855) 585-5185 or online