I am ashamed to admit that I had forgotten all about Hurricane Katrina, but tonight for 55 emotional minutes – the brilliant Siobhan O’Loughlin, directed by Danielle Skraastad, playing 13 different survivors in The Rope in Your Hands, reminded me and the other attendees about the horrific aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans, LA.
Written and performed by O’Loughlin, characters ranging from ages 7 to 65 – white and black and Asian, and old and young and wealthy and poor – from a preacher to an engineer, to a jazz musician to an organizer, to a child and volunteers who came to help – told their tales of survival, hardship, frustration and hope. And these real testimonies told to us with overflowing emotion, dignity, heart, and caring through Siobhan O’Loughlin’s tour-de-force performance.
While she sat on a chair or stood in front of a screen – the names and ages and occupations (if there was one) of the character she was about to play was projected onto the screen (by Shane O’Loughlin). It was a very effective way to reintroduce the characters as their monologues were effectively interspersed throughout the piece.The intimate and ‘in-your-face’ small performance space added to the intensity and the emotions and the horror of the tales of destruction that Katrina heaped upon these residents and visitors of New Orleans.
Without giving away anymore information about the characters, I will say that the sense of community, frustration, unity, endurance, caring, and perseverance that these characters spoke about during their monologues was heartbreaking, yet encouraging, and inspiring.
Running Time: About one hour, with no intermission.
The Rope in Your Hands plays today, Friday, February 21st and Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 7:30 PM at Doorway Arts Ensemble performing at The Black Fox Lounge – 1723 Connecticut Avenue NW, in Washington DC. For tickets, purchase them online, or at the door.
Siobhan O’Loughlin’s website.