Playwright and actor, Corinne Shor brings her deepest thoughts to light in the enigmatic I AM SOPHIE. Directed by Susan Angelo and actively supporting the goals of the LA Female Playwrights initiative, I AM SOPHIE delves into the mind of a woman who is searching for who she is – or perhaps who she wants to be. Because Sophie doesn’t really exist – or does she?
Writer/actress Corinne Shor runs the gamut of emotions in her depiction of a woman who craves to see light and sunshine – even when all is dark round her. Her middle-class family owns a chandelier shop in Minneapolis, and Sophie was actually christened Kate. But Kate doesn’t cut the mustard for this Midwestern diva, who struggles to let her inner Sophie out into the light of day. A year abroad in Paris while in high school seals this lady’s fate – for she resurrects as the glorious Sophie of her dreams. Even though the average denizen of frosty Minneapolis in the winter may have some difficulty accepting the metamorphosis.
Skilled director Susan Angelo coaxes every emotion from talented actor Shor, who weathers each and every storm while holding onto her true identity as a French emigre in a strange land. The most fascinating aspect of I AM SOPHIE, in fact, is watching Shor reach for the heights and depths of feeling in her quest to make sure the sun always shines on an exuberant Sophie. Her existential conundrums keep the play moving along as Sophie struggles to experience everything that life has to offer.
Mary Kate Flannery’s set design is minimalist, with her cozy, well-chandelier-lit study as one enters the theater serving graphically to highlight what the play is all about. Ed Brown’s and Yancey Dunham’s lighting is crucial to the story, while Grant Escandon’s sound strikes resonant chords to keep the action moving. I AM SOPHIE was reportedly very well received as a Fringe Festival offering, and playwright Shor elaborated on the theme to create the current solo performance. For those who enjoy entering into someone’s head while attempting to deal with the unanswerables of life, I AM SOPHIE will serve up a warm and tasty dish. However, the play is also a one-liner which may currently be overlong and redundant. Initially, the audience was right there with Shor, who cleverly included them in her entering monolog. As time wore on, it seemed that many in the audience drifted. But the treat will remain Angelo’s and Shor’s superb depiction of a woman torn by her inner needs.
I AM SOPHIE runs through 9/2/18 with performances at 8 p.m. on Thursday (8/23/18) and Fridays, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 5 p.m. on Sunday (9/2/18). The PICO is located at 10508 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 90064. Tickets are $25. For information and reservations, go online.