Those of you in Charlotte… THIS WEEKEND is your last chance to see an amazing play.
No, I’m not talking about “Slut” (although this is the last weekend to see that too, and I highly recommend it if you want a hysterical musical comedy) I’m talking about “Educating Rita” at the Duke Energy Theatre in Spirit Square.
I didn’t really intend to see it, frankly. The little blurb I read online didn’t blow my skirt up. But then Alex saw it and raved about it, and I tend to trust his judgment about stuff like this. Still, I wasn’t especially motivated to go…
That is, until Danny invited me to exploit his pair of free tickets with him. Free play? MY FAVORITE KIND!
I honestly didn’t know much about it; just the bit I had skimmed online and promptly ignored. So imagine my surprise when I get there and it’s a two-person play, set entirely in a professor’s office. This spunky, slightly crass “working class” hairstylist (Rita, naturally) is enrolled at the college and seeing the professor once a week for tutoring in literature.
Throughout the course of the two acts, you watch Rita try to grow as a person, expand her horizons, and reconcile who she wants to be in the future with the life she lives now. You also watch the professor struggle with his lagging career, and a growing dependence on both alcohol and Rita. The dynamic between them is fascinating, especially as each changes through the course of the story.
What REALLY made this play fascinating, though, was the performance of the female lead. Christy Basa is INCREDIBLE in the role. She brings such amazing warmth and energy to the role, but the best part was her vulnerability. Christy does such a great job letting you feel Rita’s nervousness, her urge to be someone different despite her fear of being laughed at.
While her costar does a decent job in his role (despite struggling to maintain the British accent at times), his character came across as a prop for Rita to interact with. The biggest contribution he makes to the play was giving us another vantage point from which to watch Rita’s journey.
This review sounds so pretentious when I re-read it… But who cares, it’s my freakin’ blog.
Listen, if you’re in Charlotte and have the time, go see “Educating Rita” before it’s too late. It’s a very moving play, and you’ll be glad you did. Or if you’re in the mood for silly fun without having to pay close attention to subtle dialogue, hit up “Slut” instead.
Either way, Charlotte theatre is representin’ this weekend.