Final Draft Review: Aunt Leaf

Comment your final draft reviews of Aunt Leaf here.

2 Comments on “Final Draft Review: Aunt Leaf

  1. “Aunt Leaf”-Review revised draft
    By Emily Brown

    This show moved me. I was so impressed by all the unique voices, and characters. “Aunt Leaf” is an exploration of ghost story with influence from la dia de los muertos. This bilingual show is opening at the Ancram Opera House in February 2018. From the first moment that the actress, Indira Pensado, started making noise in the blackout I had chills. I have never seen a one-actor performance before.
    The performance that I saw (at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival) was the first audience that the show had, because of this fact, I forgave some of the smaller flaws (such as the actress searching for the line, which she did only 2 or 3 times). The plot is that a girl named Annabelle lives with her parents, sisters, rabbit, and one day her great aunt Leaf moves in. Then one day Aunt Leaf asks Annabelle to go look for her deceased husband in the woods. The whole show has a pseudo dark fantasy atmosphere.
    The set was very simple: just a black acting block and canopy of branches woven together and suspended about the stage.The set and lights worked so well together to make such an interesting pattern on the floor, like the pattern that sunlight makes filtered through the trees in the woods. I didn’t really understand the concept behind the costume, however it was visually appealing and “fit” with the pseudo fantasy world that the show was set in. While the lights were good, I did sometimes find them confusing, and I’m not sure if it was intentionally disorienting at times (i.e. making it brighter and warmer when she talked about it being midnight).
    The primary complaint that I have about the show was that an audience member had her phone on during that silent blackout and it made noise. (Note, this is one of the drawbacks of live theater, and a risk that every show takes on). The reason that I bring this up is twofold: 1) this was something that tainted my experience and 2) the director (Jeffrey Mousseau) did not mention to turn off phones during his curtain speech.
    One thing that really stood out to me was the rabbit, Giddean, even though he was just an acting block. The way that the actress brought life to that acting block made the rabbit real for me. Each character (there were about 8 total) was so real, and so distinct, that I didn’t even need the actress to say which person was talking.
    I also loved the different physicalities of the actress, and how there were so few technical elements. This show has left such an impact on me, and I am so sad that there was only one chance for people to see it at KCACTF. But I am so glad that I decided to do it. If anyone did not get the chance to see it yet, or wants to see it again, I highly suggest doing it. I would gladly pay money to see this show.

  2. It is not often that an audience gets to witness an actor alone onstage with only an acting block. It is even less common for an actor to have such a large presence where the stage never felt empty but was actually bursting with life. To say that “Aunt Leaf” was an amazing one woman show would not be enough credit to Indira Pensado whos talents continued to astound the audience well after she had taken her final bow. The show was otherworldly and captivating, using sounds and unique voices created completely by Pensado to create and bring to life six different characters.

    The audience was captivated by Pensado and the story she was telling. Not only was she able to tell the story through the eyes of six characters she was able to do so while seemlessly slipping in and out of Spainish. Despite the occasional language barrier for some members of the audience it was never a struggle to understand the story and what was occuring. The highly descriptive nature of the play was portayed not only by word of mouth, but also by gesture and body language which helped tell a story which surpassed the confines of any single language.

    At the end of the show, Pensado was greeted with a much-deserved standing ovation. Upon exiting the theatre there was an overwhelming amount of positive comments and feedback from the audience. Many of whom were discussing the show and stating how Pensado was “amazing” or that the performance left them “shook”.

    This performance was a special workshop preview of the coming production; Currently, “Aunt Leaf” is still in rehearsals and is fast approaching Tech Week. With all the positive reviews from the audience tonight it will be interesting to see how the show continues to grow and progress in the following weeks.

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