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Review: “Stars” at Contact is ‘impactful, remarkable and enlightening’

"Stars" is a show that illuminates difficult topics requiring discussion.

It is a one-woman performance by Debra Michaels and written by Mojisola Adebayo.

The story revolves around an elderly woman’s quest for her orgasm in outer space, where she encounters three individuals and undergoes self-reflection prompted by their experiences.

The stage is arranged as a kitchen, complete with a two-seater dining table and an antiquated American-style fridge, evoking a nostalgic atmosphere akin to one’s grandmother’s house.

Michaels ingeniously transforms the fridge into a washing machine by turning it around, while also adjusting the door frame to suit each scene.

Michaels portrays all characters except her son, delivering flawless and captivating performances.

Her command of the stage, distinct voices, and varied characteristics for each role, coupled with her humor and charisma, make her exceptional and truly captivating.

Holding the entire show together, Michaels flawlessly executes the challenging task of being the sole performer for an hour and a half without an intermission.

Candice Purwin deserves commendation for the imaginative and artistic animations displayed throughout the show.

The animations seamlessly contribute to the storytelling, employing a consistent style and employing simple yet impactful colors.

They cleverly accompany Michaels’ scene transitions, such as changing chairs, rugs, or the door frame, serving as an effective means to segue into the next scene.

Mojisola Adebayo has done a remarkable job with the script, addressing numerous challenging subjects previously unknown to me.

Notably, it sheds light on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a topic that should be approached with caution.

While I won’t delve into its details, I encourage you to research it.

Although such sensitive topics often remain unspoken due to their controversial nature, productions like “Stars” play a crucial role in facilitating these discussions.

Some may argue that subjects like these are driven by political agendas, discouraging open dialogue.

However, acknowledging them is vital since media is our most effective means of information consumption.

Bradley Carles portrays DJ Son from a booth adjacent to the stage setup.

His character’s presence is felt throughout the performance, as Mrs. Michaels listens to her son’s radio show. I thoroughly enjoyed his role, particularly his ability to alter the music during the show.

There is a screen below him that displays his lines as he speaks, and a larger screen behind Michaels provides additional visual support. These touches enhance accessibility for the audience.

Although there were a few minor audio issues, the show overall was a beautiful testament filled with heartfelt emotions.

It effectively draws attention to marginalized subjects, including the prevailing issue of transphobia, which has spread like the COVID virus.

The audience consisted mostly of older individuals, suggesting that the show serves as an educational tool tailored to their generation.

I would readily watch this show again, as it offers a valuable and enlightening experience.

You can get tickets by clicking here. 

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