I Married A Nun
nytheatre.com review by Lynn Berg
August 14, 2012
I don’t think I’m ageist but without giving it much thought, I expected a FringeNYC run was for the young and scrappy. Dy’an Forest is certainly scrappy but at 78 years young she is far outside the typical age range of FringeNYC participants. That’s just one notion she challenges with her show I Married A Nun. This energetic performer challenges what “old ladies” can do and say with laughs, sass and song. Forest’s one-woman show offers audiences the chance to be amused, shocked and entertained by a world-traveling bi-sexual senior citizen. It’s a chance you won’t want to let pass.
With I Married A Nun Forest and her co-writer and director Stephen Jobes tell her boundary-breaking life story so far. Yes, she was married to a woman who was a nun. They were married by the former nun’s young daughter in a ceremony many years before the state would recognize such a bond. 25 years and various continents later the marriage ends in heartbreak. And that’s just part of Forest’s fascinating story of love, lust, and loneliness. Her story isn’t over yet.
Driven by her fear of ending up like her mother in a psychiatric hospital, Forest sets out “to figure out a few things about love and life.” I can’t say what she’s learned besides a few truisms. They ring true from Forest but she gives the impression she’s always known how to live and love. Maybe I get that impression because I can’t help admire how openly and unapologetically she does so. And because of her indomitable spirit. She’s unafraid to face sadness as well as happiness and generous enough to share it with her audience.
Forest is not only a big-hearted performer, she’s a multi-talented story-teller. Throughout her show she sings and strums funny, risqué tunes on her ukulele. Is there any instrument more light-hearted and charming than the ukulele? Her voice is surprisingly strong and clear and she knows how to deliver a punch-line to boot. Yes, I partly mention those things because of her age. It’s remarkable.
I Married a Nun is a good one-woman show. That it’s written and performed by a 78-year-old is inspirational. If you’ve lived as long as Forest and you can enter dancing, then you’ve got my attention. She also held my attention until she made her exit dancing. I hope at her age I’ll be entering and exiting in the same style.