“A Bit Much” Needs a Bit More of Stacy Dymalski

By Ernest Kearney — Stacy Dymalski is both smart and sharp a reality attested to in her HFF2018’s show The Other Side of the Razor Ribbon. That piece concerned a convict whose book she was hired to edit. Her latest show for the Hollywood Fringe 2019 has a bit more personal focus; the struggle she has in maintaining relationships before she frightens off the insecure male for typically being A Bit Much.

Dymalski, though, is all that and more; Writer, director, producer, published author, Ted Talk alumni, mother of two apparently well-adjusted human beings – and this is just the short list. Her show is as smart and sharp as she, and brimming with wit and well turned toss-offs, “Like having Jane Austin at a tractor pull.”

Where the show stumbles is not in Dymalski’s strengths, but in her treading on thinner ice.

Dymalski is a “Personality,” and please note the use of a capital “P.”

Stand up and Ted Talks are the domain of “Personalities.” But a strong personality does not necessarily equate with a strong performer.

At the opening of the show she introduces us to the two voices that live in her head, “Hope” and “Zelda.” Most of us are familiar with those voices, and have variations of them squatting somewhere in our own brain cavities.

The problem with them in Dymalski’s piece is threefold: First, they’re superfluous to the story, the thrust of which is not how Dymalski sees herself, but how others see her. Indicative of this is that they are underused after their introduction. Second, Dymalski does not embody them well. Anything introduced onto a stage, even if it’s not ever there in a physical presence, must become a full character, and this is especially true in a solo performance. (1)

Dymalski’s “Hope” and “Zelda” are just her talking to her opposite shoulders.

Third, a solo performer “talking to his/her opposite shoulders” is a cliché, and a cliché not done with panache is boring. What Dymalski has to offer is neither “cliché,”nor “boring” so it’s a mistake to go down that road.

The other aspect that hinders this show perhaps lies with the storyteller/performer demarcation. As I opined, I find Dymalski’s strength in her storytelling. She is honest, straightforward and precis; none of which a performance need be or even ought to be.

Surprise and revelation are potent tools in any performance. Dymalski’s show does not lack for the latter but does suffer for the former.

Just a quick example: at one point Dymalski lists her achievements which are prodigious, the problem is lists tend to be less than dramatic, and can be off-putting on stage. (Or on a first date or at a party, etc.) But further on in the story, when on a camping trip, Dymalski’s romantic interest goes off to get his tools after putting up their tent proves too difficult. Quick blackout-his return-fully assembled tent-and a sheepish Dymalski looking out at the audience and inquiring – “Did I mention I assembled airliner wings at MacDonald-Douglas?”

Surprise-reveal-big laugh.

I admit I felt this show, like her last show, had problems, but one thing that I haven’t any problem with at all is Dymalski herself – who is funny, very funny, quirky, intelligent and very, very funny.

The show is worth seeing, but it’s Dymalski that’s worth going to.

(1) Think of the streetcar in A Streetcar Named Desire, the father in Ghosts, or for reference in HFF2019 the blank screen in The Last PowerPoint, the evil alien space dictator Xenu in Squeeze My Cabaret, the five characters introduced in Made For Each Other, the “presence” in The Mayor’s Debate of Tranquility, Nebraska, or Spirit in Running With Wolves.

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A Bit Much

playing during The Fringe at

Lounge Theatre (Lounge 1)
6201 Santa Monica Boulevard

For Complete Show Information: http://hff19.org/5898

For Events, Plays and Other Fun Fringe News and Info: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/

Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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