Wednesday, March 20

Hill’s ‘Reunion’ tells simple, powerful story


Hill’s ‘Reunion’ tells simple, powerful story

One-woman show describes relationship of mother, daughter

By Jennifer Richmond

Daily Bruin Senior Staff

One-person shows tend to glorify the actor or actress performing
in them and is often used as a showcase for the actor’s talent.

But not Amy Hill’s "Reunion." She uses her newest one-woman show
to talk about her mother. In fact she doesn’t just talk about her
mother, she plays her in the hour-and-a-half drama and she does so
with a delightful sense of caring and humor.

Opening with the actress waking up and discovering the audience
watching her, Hill takes us on a journey through her mother’s
childhood, some of the funny stories that have happened to her and
some of the trinkets in her house she gets pleasure from.

One such trinket is a little talking clock that doesn’t talk
when it’s supposed to. Or at least it didn’t for this show. An
obvious mistake with the sound, Hill didn’t let the problem bother
her. Instead, she pleaded with the clock to speak, joked with the
audience that maybe it just wasn’t up for talking and finally
thanked it profusely when they got the voice over running.

Even though that scene with the clock wasn’t scripted, it fit
perfectly in the show. Within the rest of the hour Hill has other
amusing moments and scenes that are reminiscent of the opening
scene with the clock. While these are scripted, they have just as
much punch and pleasure as her opening ad lib.

The pleasure comes from Hill’s ability to relate to the audience
and treat them as family. As her mother, Hill opens her arms to
them and just like so many other parents, she willingly tells her
life story to those that are nice enough to listen.

But what makes this show better than others of its kind is that
Hill leaves out the boring unnecessary "then I did this, and then I
did this." She picks out the important stories that explain who her
mother is without going on and on about how she got there.

While there are plenty funny scenes, like her experiences with
Jehovah’s Witnesses, there are plenty of serious moments too ­
like when she tells of how her son died because her mother-in-law
wouldn’t let her take him to the hospital.

It’s these touching moments that allow the audience to see
Hill’s mother for who she is. She may have some funny family
stories that make people laugh, but she also feels comfortable
enough to share the bittersweet moments that make us think about
our own lives and our own relationships with our parents and
families.

This is the beauty of Hill’s piece. It doesn’t ask too much of
its audience. It simply lays out the stories and then lets us
choose what to take away, without banging us over our heads with
the "lessons" it’s trying to teach. She doesn’t preach which, in
these types of shows, is so hard to stay away from. Hill just gives
us the facts.

If there’s ever a moment when Hill’s mother gets caught up in a
story that’s not so pleasant, she eases the audience back to the
happier side of things with a funny incident or saying that she
heard. Hill even gets herself in there every so often by referring
to "my daughter Amy."

One particular scene strikes home in which, portraying the
typical nagging mother, she calls Amy, gets her answering machine
and says, "Since you never call me I’ll tell you my story now."
After a few words, she thinks better of it and hangs up. But it’s
these little things that make the show and Hill’s mother
loveable.

Hill’s mother may do a few things that not everyone can relate
to, but there’s enough in the show that, no matter who you are,
anyone can relate to, understand and adore it.

STAGE: "Reunion." Starring and written by Amy Hill. Directed by
Anne Etue. Running through May 14 at Theatre Geo. Performing Friday
through Sunday at 8 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. TIX: $20
or $15 with a student ID. For more info call (213) 660-TKTS.

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