First a confession: I’m writing this review from a different perspective as I have been involved with the show as an “outside voice” for the last couple of weeks. This two-woman show, written by Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney, is being co-directed by the stars Amy Driscoll and Nicole Quam; though both of these lovely ladies have long and successful theatre histories under their belts, it can be hard to completely distance yourself from the work as you are performing it, and so I was one of the people they asked to come in, watch rehearsals, and give feedback. So though I am not formally part of the production, I have seen some of the growth process and have added my own thoughts into the development stew, and while I don’t think any review is 100% impartial my review is probably less so because of this. Therefore, I’ve decided to give it a more brief treatment, and I invite readers who attend the show to submit their own reviews in the comments!
The brief commercial above features Amy and Nicole providing show information “in character” as Madeline and Sylvia, two of the oddball characters cooked up by Gaffney and Najimy. The show is quite fun, and although it doesn’t have quite the same edge as previous Late night Series productions, the sketches included in this production present a wide variety of women (and a few men) coping with life, love, and even the social minefield surrounding menstruation. The show takes the everyday and turns it on its head, sometimes for laughs and sometimes in a way that stops you short. But even in the more serious moments of the play, laughter is never far behind.
How do lesbian folk singers and a vegan restaurant relate to learning about love and acceptance? Do nuns really have eyes in the back of their heads, Jack? Do people still totally have rights even if they are like, from outer space? Is there more to a good relationship than just good sex? And is everything bad in the world really the fault of one obnoxious guy named Cliff? Parallel Lives explores all of these questions and more with a series of memorable characters and zany situations, and by the end of the show, even if you are just a poor dirt farmer you’ll be saying, “Thank God for Lilac Spring Tampons!”
Both of the women involved in this show should be familiar to those who attend local theatre and who read this site. Nicole Quam has been actively involved in community theatre for many years; some of her recent work includes directing Escanaba In Da Moonlight for Firehall, starring as Beverly in The Office Plays for the Empire Theatre Company, and directing the first of the Firehall’s Late Night Series shows last season, The Eight: Reindeer Monologues. Amy, back this fall after another summer working with the Sleepy Hollow Summer Theatre in Bismarck, has also been actively involved with Grand Forks theatre for some time, including directing Moon Over Buffalo and performing in Late Night Series productions The Eight and Scenes From Armageddon. Both women have also been featured in artist profiles here at the World of Champagne: Amy and Nicole.
So be sure to check out this, the latest installment in the Late Night Theatre Series at the Firehall. It’s funny, a little naughty, and has some truly beautiful moments. And best of all, it shows off the amazing talents of two lovely ladies who I am thrilled to call friends and fellow performers.
Once you see the show, post your thoughts in the comments section; if you think you have the chops to write a guest review for the World of Champagne, be sure to submit it, along with a photo and a brief bio through the “Contact Janessa” link at the top of the page, and you might get to see your name in print on this very site!
Tags: Amy D, Amy Driscoll, Clinic Shooting, community theater, community theatre, female comedy, Fire Hall Theater, Fire Hall Theatre, Firehall Theater, Firehall Theatre, Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre, Janessa, Janessa J, Janessa J Champagne, Janessa Jaye, Janessa Jaye Champagne, Kathy Najimy, Las Hermanas, Miss Jaye, Mo Gaffney, Mrs. Kenny Rogers, Nicole Quam, Nikki Quam, Parallel Lives, Sister Woman Sister, Sketch Comedy, Supreme Beings, women's theatre