A Long Walk Home
nytheatre.com review by Robert Attenweiler
August 15, 2009
All told, there is very little walking in A Long Walk Home. Rather, it is a good deal of running, some nice singing, and athletic movement and dancing that get one home in this piece created, directed, and performed by Lauren Marie Albert and currently playing at the Robert Moss Theater as part of the New York International Fringe Festival.
While it's tough to talk plot with this performance piece, there is an interesting (though vague and underutilized) framework that serves as the spine for this performance. A heartbroken young woman (all speaking roles are performed by Albert) hits herself over the head with a pot, damaging her brain and causing her to speak in an accent completely foreign to her. This serves as the gateway for Albert to create a series of characters all talking about love in some fashion. One character tells how she fell in love with a stool. Another describes her painful love affair with the last man on earth. Albert introduces these characters with their accompanying dance and movement and then casts them off until she is, in her words, "myself, all characters stripped away."
The problem is that it is difficult for the audience to follow this journey. A Long Walk Home comes across as a very honest and passionate work, but the audience has little, if any, way to connect with and follow it. Eschewing narrative, Albert never finds an effective way to really convey her story to the people watching it.
Albert is joined onstage by Meryl Williams and Stacy Jordan, who serve as singers, musicians, and "angels" along Albert's journey. The piece is most enjoyable when the three women sing together. They have nice voices and harmonize well—and the simple, stripped-down verses and refrains of their songs provide the most recognizable narrative experience in the play.