Not Far from the Tree

Christine Corpuz as “Mother.”

Christine Corpuz as “Mother.”

A framed photograph of yourself makes a nice gift but Christina Corpuz has taken that notion a lot further. Although it’s a bit late, Corpuz’s one-woman show “I Am Nothing Like My Mother” makes a Mother’s Day present of an entire portfolio of her own considerable talents as a writer and actress.
In a very funny twist, Corpuz plays her mother stalling for time in front of the audience while Corpuz herself fights stage fright backstage. Confused? Don’t be. It’s an ingenious simultaneous biographical/autobiographical device, and Corpuz plays Mom telling stories about her daughter with engaging, bright charm, and a thick Filipina accent. Whether it’s to the show’s detriment or not is hard to tell but this isn’t your standard, single, long monologue illustrated with multiple characters. It is instead a collection of short pieces—a Whitman’s sampler, if you will—written by Corpuz to showcase her own acting skills which are, in a word, impressive. Most of the pieces are poignant—particularly one in which she takes a breather from a night out with the girls to drunk-dial an ex who broke her heart—but Corpuz shines by finding humor and strength without succumbing to narcissism or mawkishness. Most impressive is her turn as James, a black panhandler with a deep-seated romantic streak.
It may be only a matter of time before Corpuz starts arriving in your living room for free by way of “Law & Order” episodes but it’s still well worth the ticket price to see this fine actress at work.

“I Am Nothing Like My Mother” performs Wednesdays at 8pm at the Whitefire Theatre
(13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423). Tickets are $20.
For ticket information, go to
www.brownpapertickets.com or call (800) 838-3006.

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