The idea of doing a one person show based on South Side characters seems sort of obvious-- mainly cause this is such a weirdly interesting place- that has grown and evolved as it should, with layer after layer of personal and collective history. An amazing, if often annoying neighborhood like no other.
Taking audiences on a vibrant, hometown adventure, the ambitious one-woman show depicts a dynamic neighborhood--from steep city steps and teen rebellion, to the J & L plant and local haunts--via more than 100 interviews with South Side residents, multimedia projections by Pittsburgh-based artist David Pohl and original music by Nathan Leigh.
Tami Dixon, the main creator/ writer/ actor is from Cleveland, graduated from CMU and lived in NY, bringing some perspective to the work.
The resulting content, which ranges from the highly funny and poignant, to the deeply personal and sad, addresses a myriad of human experience, including addiction, race, community, family, loss and death, and the issue of what is left in a community over after something goes away.
"It's an unflinching look at a community I see myself in. I started out as a tour guide taking people through the South Side and then I had to address how and why I am connected to them, and why I was the one telling the stories. It's been an incredible learning process for me about the craft I have been in for most of my life," adds Dixon. "I realize these people have been in my body for years and now I am putting them into a physical space. I am telling real people's stories and I have to be really careful about honoring them."
My opinion off the bat is that, if the work is weak-She should tweak away, it's not like there the place is short of stories worth telling and characters worth meeting.