You know their names now hear their stories
Unheard Voices at the Whitefire Theatre Solofest was written by J.S. Bellatore, and directed by Ralph Tropf. It is the tale of three women in history, partly based on fact, part conjecture, recreated by the characters.
The first segment is about Helen of Troy, played by Krystyna Ahlers. Although Ahlers is an excellent actress who never faltered in her 30 minutes-or-so of dialogue, the contemporary language was a bit of a distraction. “The Face That Launched 1,000 Ships” seemed more Valley girl than Goddess. Her manipulation of the men in her life was fun, though.
Marisa Persson as Betsy Ross spoke in the language of the era, and aged along with her character. Her acting was flawless as she lived through the deaths of three husbands and a few children, and gained the strength of character and the wisdom that comes with age. Inspiring performance.
The Sally Hemings character, played by Jamaica Perry, also showed a marked distinction from a naïve 14-year-old, to a mistress/slave of Thomas Jefferson, to an educated mother and grandmother. Her dialect as a teen was thick, but smoothed out “over the years,” becoming more refined as she aged. Well done.
Unheard Voices is an intriguing concept, but it almost seemed as if there was one writer for the first segment and different writers for the second two. Although all three actresses were impressive, it was easier to sympathize with the Ross and Hemings characters.
The play is definitely worth seeing, so keep an eye out. And Ballatore is adding more characters to the piece.