The Girl With Two Belly Buttons, written and directed by Jeryl Parade, is a heartwarming story. A woman, Izzy, suffers from a rare muscular disorder which requires that she use a feeding tube. When it is released she is given pain killers that cause her to have a wild dream. In her dream, she meets her former-self from 30 years prior and the two of them go through time, studying why each of her parade of various boyfriends failed. Throughout, Izzy is trying to figure out why she can’t seem to make it work with boys.
Parade’s production was funny, warm, and wonderfully nostalgic. Her unique vision was best displayed when Izzy, played by Suzanna Woodhead, took the pain killer drugs and some flashy, colorful things happened on the stage. It was an interesting manifestation of being under the influence.
Woodhead was solid in her role. She was constantly upbeat, even as she watched each of her failed relationships. Her presence was fun and strong, which was best exemplified by her hilariously bad guitar playing.
Her young self was played by Kathryn Martin. Martin was dynamic and emotional. Her energetic performance was lively and compelling, and she was joined by a group of fine actors who played her boyfriends.
Jesse (C. G. Lalov) was suspicious and angry. Dakota (Scott Duvall) was bashful and timid, and had a great funny moment when he leapt up to celebrate his success at one point. Hugh (Matthew Sutphin) was brilliantly douchey and overconfident. Zsigmond (David Walsh) was sweet and uncultured and kind of doofy. Ramone (C. G. Lalov again) was laid back, groovy and hipster. Tryp (Peter Markey) was kind and desperate. The respective actors did a great job of bringing to life the male characters that all had to be so different from one another.
Sara Castillo had a short appearance as Erskina, a friend of Ramone, and her brief appearance was solid. Similarly, David Swift, who played Izzy’s doctor, showed just the right amount of professionalism while being very inquisitive and personable.
Kalif Aljami, Carolyn Merklein, and Niffer Pflager created the set which contained two huge pillars. Additionally, blocks were used to create everything needed: beds, chairs, and tables, among other things. It was a great set that contributed to the overall success of the show. There was often lots of open space and I do wish that Parade had had the actors make better use of the space.
Another great aspect of the show was the lighting, designed by Ali V. Hall. It was the precise lighting which enabled the characters to not get drowned out by the vast stage. Also, the flashes of extremely bright light added to that under-the-influence feeling when Izzy first takes the drugs which was great.
The production also included a great soundtrack which kept the piece fun and helped keep the pace from becoming ponderous during scene changes.
The Girl With Two Belly Buttons is a funny production about finding love and the changes we undergo over time. It’s heartfelt and amusing and captivating. Not to mention its relatable. Check it out!
Running Time: 70 minutes.
Girl with Two Belly Buttons plays through Sunday, July 26, 2015 at Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Sprenger Theatre– 1333 H Street, NE, in Washington, DC. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit their Capital Fringe page.
2015 Capital Fringe Preview #7: Interviews with the Writer/Director/Producer and Cast of ‘Girl with Two Belly Buttons’: Part 1: Jeryl Parade.
2015 Capital Fringe Preview #7: Interviews with the Writer/Director/Producer and Cast of ‘Girl with Two Belly Buttons’: Part 2: Kathryn Martin.
2015 Capital Fringe Preview #7: Interviews with the Writer/Director/Producer and Cast of ‘Girl with Two Belly Buttons’: Part 3: Matthew Sutphin.
Interviews with the Writer/Director/Producer and Cast of ‘Girl with Two Belly Buttons’: Part 4: Scott Duvall.
2015 Capital Fringe Preview #7: Interviews with the Writer/Director/Producer and Cast of ‘Girl with Two Belly Buttons’: Part 5: Peter Markey.
For more info about the show, please visit: jerylparade.com.