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The White Whore andthe Bit Player

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THE WHITE WHORE AND THE BIT PLAYER, Trap Door Theatre. When an author begins with the image of a nun and a woman who looks like Marilyn Monroe hanging on and then getting down from a crucifix, there's nowhere for the energy and emotion of the play to go but up. Tom Eyen's The White Whore and the Bit Player is a tightly knit journey into the psyche of a "white whore" in the ten seconds before her death, when her self is divided into opposites: the sexpot character created by the media, and the insecure, repressed "bit player," here dressed as a nun. And director-designer Michael Pieper's interpretation keeps the energy building scene after scene.

The play is enjoyable even as it challenges our perception of female roles because of Eyen's sense of humor; the tension between public adoration and private angst, manipulative employer and desperate employee, needy child and selfish mother--battles played out by the whore and the bit player, who take on different characters in each other's stories--is highly comic in the deep, absurd sense, where there's nothing left to do but laugh about about one's dilemmas. Magica Bottari as the whore and Su Sazama as the bit player play the extremes of their roles, finding the vulnerability as well as the bravado of the whore, the gutsiness as well as the longing of the bit player.

--Gabrielle S. Kaplan

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