Words: Alex Grunberg
Two female actors take us on an emotional tour de force in “Bitter Lemons” as goals and expectations clash with unpredictable obstacles. This smart and empathetic production handles its sensitive subject matter of unplanned pregnancy with professionalism, care, and understanding.
As two characters who lead very different lives – seemingly tied to each other only by their shared passions for their careers and drive to prove themselves – face a nearly identical struggle, the audience is drawn into a drama that feels both personal and universal. At one point in the play a character wonders if she is “with” the other women dealing with similar situations or “alongside” them, and as an audience member wrapped up in the words I felt myself slipping between the two positions myself. The anxiety of the play is heightened through mounting stressful encounters, and I felt my heart racing as I experienced the characters’ endured insults and unfair defeats.
I would recommend – if you can pull yourself away from the captivating active performer – taking a moment during the monologues to observe the actor sitting in silence. This is no passive background position, and each one fills her quiet role with intensity and grace.
An excellent script, brilliant performances, with a visceral sound design, “Bitter Lemons” is a beautiful, important, and very human piece of art.
Pleasance Courtyard, Beneathe
8-15, 17-28 Aug