The Column Online



WRITTEN BY – Stefany Cambra

Proper Hijinx Productions

KAYLIE – Dakota Ratliff

DIRECTOR - Stefany Cambra
SOUND DESIGNER – Anne Marie Coleman

Reviewed Performance: 10/21/2018

Reviewed by Travis McCallum, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Made of Honor is a story about a woman’s frustration for her sister’s sexual orientation and how family reacts when they discover their Christian relative is marrying another woman.

Set in the wardrobe closet, Kaylie (Dakota Ratliff) stumbles through a rack of clothes, equipped with two bottles of wine and ornate champagne glasses to drown out all her worries. Her disheveled hair and loose shoulder strap tell us she is in rough shape. She turns on the closet light, looks out into the audience, and shares her inner thoughts on everything from religion, lesbianism, family and relationships.

Kaylie is animated, enthusiastic and incredibly brilliant. She captures the audience attention with charismatic charm typical of a sibling wanting the best for her sister. Her quick sarcastic remarks and gutsy grand gestures wow’d me with vibrant energy. Kaylie channeled her intense energy into outstanding moments of tender devotion.

Dressed in a pink dress, high heels and a purse, she would frequent a brown cardboard box for memories of the past. I also liked how she used the hats and clothes in closet to mimic different relatives in the family. It helped establish other personalities in the wedding. My favorite impression was of the auntie prude.

Kaylie is joined by one more inanimate actor in the closet—the Demon Device from Hell. This “demon” is her cell phone which relentlessly demands Kaylie’s attention throughout the show. The phone is her gateway to the outside world, past the confines of the closet space.

More importantly, the phone drives the real-time action of the plot. Kaylie balances reflections of the past by ignoring the phone, but also addresses the future with interactions of text. She reads the texts of her sister and replies with apprehensive fortitude.

The phone represents more than just a second actor in the scene. It’s a symbolic companion we can’t get away from. The phone vies for our attention, engorges us with its presence, and demands our person at all times. Those who are able to silence this “demon device from hell” are the ones that thrive most in the world.

The LGBTQ component of the show is integral to Kaylie’s frustrations. Because her sister is a lesbian marrying another woman, Kaylie is grieved from the disdain of her family members and the church.

She dissects multiple angles on the subject of lesbianism, asking compelling morality questions. “If I support LGBTQ internally but am not an activist, does it count?” “Is it my responsibility to defend my sister when people talk badly about her sexual orientation?” Kaylie even goes down a dark path with morbid thoughts, wishing her sister was never a lesbian to begin with and this whole fiasco would never have happened in the first place.

She is quick to nip that thought.

Preshow vibes set the bar with an amazing selection of wedding songs of the 60s and beyond. Sound Designer Anne Marie Coleman brought us classic tunes like “If You Believe In Magic” and “You Make My Dreams Come True” in true upbeat fashion.

The sound cues for the cell phone were inconsistent. Sometimes they blended seamlessly with the story, other times the vibrations felt lackluster. My immediate observation of real world cell phones is the differentiation between a phone call vibration and a text. One is drawn out, while the other is short lived.

The theatre itself was in a comely dance studio, built as a proscenium with the audience on one side and the actor on the other. The chairs squeaked when anyone moved, serving as an unwelcome distraction from the quieter moments on stage.

Lighting was minimum, centered squarely in the cramped closet. A few shades of blue hues beamed down on Kaylie. When she turned on the light switch, the closet was flooded with a bright white to bleed in with the eerie paleness.

At the onset of the play, a voiceover recording reminded the audience of general housekeeping formalities in a way that tied directly into the story. We all were wedding guests come to celebrate this glorious day.

I am most impressed by playwright Stefany Cambra’s incredible writing. She creates a conversation that is entertaining and close to home for so many people in this current day and age. She injects appropriate humor which often makes me smile broadly.

“My sister is a lesbian. Ironic that I’m hiding in the closet.”

I am very happy with the ending. Cambra provides resolution to the plot and when Kaylie leaves the closet, she has sorted out all her feelings with renewed vigor to be a supportive sister.

Parents be warned: there is a lot of cursing in this show. In the first five minutes the F word is bombed at least 10 times. Kaylie certainly has the mouth of a sailor. But that kind of language only adds the realness of a modern day family. I am impressed with Made of Honor and am grateful to see its world premiere. Described as a 55 minute 1-man show, it clocked in at 36 minutes.

Made of Honor
Proper Hijinx Productions
October 19 through October 2, 2018
Dance Xpress
4320 Marsh Ridge Rd
Suite 130
Carrollton, TX 75010
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