- I saw this piece, by my friend and colleague, Margaret Morrison, in an earlier iteration some time during the summer. I appreciated it then, but I saw that it could use some dramaturgical improvement. Morrison is a first-time playwright, and this is a challenging way to begin given that it is a period piece. For this performance, I knew that revisions had been made to the earlier draft, and I was looking forward to seeing a sharper, leaner, and more developed play. I have to admit, I did not see much alteration to the earlier production from half a year earlier, but nevertheless, I still really appreciate the material of this play, and I value Morrison's emerging voice.
- Things about this play that I appreciate: the historicity of male impersonators, the politics of race and religion in the period, the small 2-woman cast, the inter-racial autumn-summer lesbian pairing, the tremendous amount of detail in the dialogue, and the live performance of the tap number (Morrison's specialty).
- Where I think the piece needs work is in the structure itself. The trap of the 2-person back and forth dialogue is common to early playwrights. That is all Morrison has to work with, and that is, unfortunately, all the play is. When I heard there were revisions, I had hoped to see more dynamic scenes, but I think all that happened were cuts, and I couldn't even tell you where. Basically, it's a lot of talking. I think the play should have more elements because as it stands, it's just a really long breakup in a really long conversation (with an intermission). But maybe that's a good representation of a lesbian relationship: a really long verbal process.
- Morrison might serve the play better from outside it. She lends her voice and technical abilities to the character, but she is clearly not an actor, and some moments may be stronger with a different person in the part.
- What I find interesting about the play is how Morrison's character, Jimmie LeRoy, is not a particularly sympathetic one. Her partner, Claire Hicks, played by Ericka Hart, repeatedly calls Jimmie out in abusive moments or when using privileged language. It may not be obvious that a lesbian Jewish male impersonator in the late 30s could be speaking with privilege, but Jimmie does have more privilege than Claire, who is a woman of color. Claire can't "take off the suit," so to speak. The accountability for Morrison's own position as the writer is pretty selfless... something I rarely see from male writer's who often exude an air of compensating for having less power than other men (Tony Kushner could be one example of this as a theme). Morrison acknowledges her limited position as still being more powerful than other marginalized people. For this, I applaud Morrison and HOME IN HER HEART.
- It is still a developing piece, and I hope one day it can work out the dryness of constant dialogue to become a fuller story than just the explanation of how and why two women got together in that particular time and place. I want something more than that.... like, what happens in this play? So far, not much.
"I've lied about a lot of things" - Dandy
"We cannot change the thing we are" - Josser
"speak of nothing" (the idea of nought, nothingness, and lack as woman) - Josser
"debauchery and deviance" - Abbess
"web of lies" - Dandy
"Fate is a bitch who turns us on her wheel" - Crispin
"Fate has stymied my life everywhere" - Dandy
"God has a plan for all our lives" - Joan
"mine eye is keen; I do see more than most" - Dandy