Rocky from da Bronx Productions
in cooperation with Dirtbag Productions presents
DATING, DEPRESSION and DIRTBAGS…A Love Story
Written and Performed by ELZA ZAGREDA
Directed by JOAN KANE
March 21 through 31, 2012
Stage Left Studios, 214 West 30th Street, 6TH Floor, NYC
Lighting ELLEN ROSENBERG
Publicity SCOTTI RHODES
In about an hour, Elza Zagreda conveys the story of meeting the man of her dreams, marrying him, enduring infidelity, ailments, loss and ultimately divorce, and coming out the other side in her new solo endeavor, DATING, DEPRESSION and DIRTBAGS…A Love Story. Referring to her now ex-husband only as dirtbag (dirt for short), Zagreda is not shy about exposing her still raw wounds, hoping, one imagines, to find some measure of healing in the process.
DATING, DEPRESSION and DIRTBAGS presents a woman who is strong, but in transition. Able to describe and invoke her Albanian family with love and pride, often with humor, the sense that having wed an adulterer was somehow a flaw in her character that would disappoint her family seeps to the surface long before the words are spoken. Clearly still in the process of grieving, Ms. Zagreda more than once toward the denouement of the evening acknowledged her family and friends for helping her get through.
While painting a dismal portrait of her ex, Zagreda does not spare herself scrutiny. She ranges from describing her younger self as fat (you’d never know to see her now), to recounting a drunken rage where, in the midst of hurling a $5000 television at her ex, she suffered what seemed an especially relevant loss to her, damage to a Chanel necklace, to detailing such humiliations as being left-back in pole dancing class. As written, the point of view of this piece is sometimes so tied to Ms. Zagreda’s memory, and remembrance triggered by memory, that an exact place in time in the timeline can elude the audience. As an overall narrative it has an expected arc, but some of the finer points that could bring a piece like this to the next level are not there yet.
Moments are touching and others are funny, but one gets the sense that it may as yet be too soon for the writer/performer to present with abandon such painful events from her past with a level of separation that would make DATING, DEPRESSION and DIRTBAGS more performance piece and less confessional. One has to say, though, that opting for this form of public catharsis can be the basis for great work. When the nerves are less raw, anticipate material culled from this experience that is the basis for truly witty and insightful theater.
- Kessa De Santis -