On May 4, 2012, I had the great fortune to check out a performance of an one-woman play titled “Dirty Barbie and Other Girlhood Tales” written and performed by Dee Dee Stewart. Since then, I have been quite an avid fan of Stewart, following her journey documented on her blogs, social media, and live streaming events as she prepared to perform “Dirty Barbie and Other Girlhood Tales” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and most recently, her journey writing the play “The Sugar.”
“The Sugar” world premier opened at Lee Street theatre last week, having been directed by Jim Epperson and produced by the Sidewalk Deli. Tonight is your last chance to see the world premier in Salisbury.
Last night, a full house laughed, sighed, and was carried on the beautiful journey of Sally, a wellness coach, who begins a podcast about a recent sugar fast. Sally, played by the very talented Frances Bendert, feels her life unraveling. Bendert masterfully balances Sally’s vulnerability and strength exploring the dichotomy of society’s expectations of women versus women’s expectations of themselves.
A cast of off-beat characters shows the many facets of Sally. Gracie, a chirpy teenager, captured hilariously by Addison Bevis, struggles with being an outcast and in constant struggles with her overbearing mother. Louise, a detective who struggles with her weight but also with having to face the bleak reality of society on a daily basis, is both insightful and hysterically played by Mary Ann McCubbin. Ed, Sally’s troubled “hippie-like” brother, is endearing, brilliant, and heartbreaking. Tony Moore, as Ed, conveys a certain ennui, disillusioned with society, and desperately needing to be near his sister, despite their tumultuous relationship. Woody, a lawyer in Sally’s building, is masterfully played by Justin Dionne. Woody is witty, funny, and amusingly loveable, even as he is driving Sally crazy.
The show does contain adult language, but it is intended for an adult audience.
“The Sugar” will make you laugh. It is a beautiful story and a beautiful performance. But like much of Dee Dee Stewart’s work, the play strikes a chord with the deepest part of ourselves, raising uncomfortable questions about our expectations of ourselves and others, where we come from and where we are going, and the true meaning of friendship and family.
The last performance is tonight. Don’t miss it.
The Lee Street Theater & Performing Arts Center at the Tom & Martha Smith Event Center
329 N. Lee Street
Salisbury, NC 28144