Soho Think Tank
Producing Director, Erich Jungwirth
MOTHERíS LITTLE HELPER
Written and Performed by LENORA CHAMPAGNE
Ohio Theatre, February 6 Ė 22, 2004
Directed by ROBERT LYONS
Lighting TYLER MICOLEAU
Sets/Costumes LIZ PRINCE
Sound ERIC SHIM
Stage Manager LAUREN WEIGEL
Press PUBLICITY OUTFITTERS
In a sixty-five minute sweep that just flies by, Lenora Champagne charms the audience with store bought advice, memories, tall tales and political observations in her intelligent MOTHERíS LITTLE HELPER. With a starting point around the height of frenzy in New York City on September 11, 2001, but about a story that spans generations, perceptions and expectations, this one-person show had unexpected humor, cultural depth and a flood of sexual politics not to be ignored.
Champagne entwines her youth as a Louisiana Cajun princess, the general, and generally forbidden and hidden, sexual awakening of single (unmarried) women, the horror of September 11, and her own young daughterís gradual maturation into an unlikely, but generally satisfying monologue. Shifting focus, narrative style and even voice Champagne turns MOTHERíS LITTLE HELPER, a title that comes from an old-style sex manual that never actually mentions sex, into more than an ironic turn of tongue. What she never quite does, intentionally or not, is tie it all into a neat little knot. Then, after 9/11/01, what does it mean to have closure? What does it mean to rear a child in New York City? What is it like to be a parent? Or me? Or you?
That is all part of the subtext, or at least I imagine it is meant to be. Champagne is composed and essentially emotionless during performance except when she talks political trends. She is well aware that the changing times, the changing realities and the changing media influencing us make the store bought wisdom of yore all the more antiquated in an age when children research sex on the internet. Is there no place for MOTHERíS LITTLE HELPER? In Champagneís opinion, I would chance to guess, there never was. For she is rather straightforwardly political and adamant when expressing disdain for the current trends toward limiting abortion rights and general conservativism of our government.
Flaws aside, MOTHERíS LITTLE HELPER is a notable work. It tackles difficult subjects with such ease that they seem simple. No small task, I imagine, unless one happens to be a Cajun princess!
- Kessa De Santis -