This short play, streaming in the 8th annual National Women’s Theatre Festival from Raleigh, NC, runs at around twenty-five minutes and manages to fit in numerous themes and concerns.
Written, directed and produced by Danielle Cummings, Lobe Yourself (the title is a play on ear lobes and ear piercing) is mainly the story of introverted comic fan Gracie (Amy Pan) who misses her mom and is spending New Year’s Eve without her room-mate.
It opens with a video call between Gracie and Aurelia (Kelsey Waltermire). It is clear the second girl is the confident one and seemingly a little patronising and thoughtless.
What at first feels like a sinister undertone and unsettling fascination with others’ lives settles into an understanding that choices may just be OK if you want to belong.
As Lobe Yourself progresses (with highly appreciated on-screen subtitles) it races through noisy neighbours, female friendships, movie makeovers, being away from home, being you, sleepovers, rites of passage, taking risks, doing silly things to ‘grow up’ and not fitting in.
Cummings’s direction is very good when focusing purely on Pan, who gives Gracie an interesting character trajectory through that one night, from being left alone as the year turns, to her confidence in her surroundings and self.
The National Women’s Theatre Festival continues with live and streamed shows into July.