JEZEBEL THE JUSTIFIED
nytheatre.com review by Joel Treick
Playwright and director Jonathon Morgan is clearly a passionate artist,
full of righteous indignation. Unfortunately, his one-woman creation
Jezebel the Justified demonstrates the limitations of passion
without a clear focus.
August 15, 2002
In his 50-minute piece, Morgan manages to touch on domestic abuse, abortion, lesbianism, rape, murder, and the perils of organized religion. The consequence of this breeze through a potpourri of hot-button social issues of the past and present is that each becomes two-dimensional. The audience tries desperately to connect to a wonderful character named Julia created by actress Natasha Grant but it becomes impossible because each of her concerns is quickly addressed in a series of rapid-firecliches that show the playwright’s admirable angst, but unfortunately demonstrate no unique insight or perspective.
Grant, an actress from Liverpool, performs well given the limitations of the script. She shows depth and maturity as an actress, seamlessly transforming herself from a timid young wife to a woman questioning God and striking out at her abusive husband. Her task is made more difficult by the play’s staging, which calls for disconcerting leaps between scenes of her character’s violent abuse by an unseen husband to her public denials in a religious self-help group. These uncomfortable changes occur in full frontal view of the audience a mere three feet away and result in empathy with the actress rather than her abused character.
For all its noble geo-political intentions, Jezebel the Justified cannot overcome an unfocused script that is long on social sermonizing and short on true human connection.