As the pithy metaphorical expression goes, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” Ajarae Cole-man, associate producer and ac-tress, plays the exquisite yet vulnerable protagonist, Ruth, heeds this sage advice of counting her blessings in The Gift Horse, a dramedy about one woman’s ultimate triumph over the delicate intricacies of life and love.
Following the award winning in-dependent film Precious (and before that, Towelhead), which delved into the once taboo subject of sexual abuse/incest, this show centers on Ruth, struggling to deal with the current men in her life, as she undergoes therapy and in-tense emotional soul searching to heal the wounds from memories of her father’s abuse.
Beautiful classical music resonates on stage, as gifted ac-tress/musician Nina Daniels (“Jordan”) plays the cello, incorporating pieces by Mozart and minuets by Bach into her empowering narrative of how her own life story evolved.
The immensely gifted talents, Abraham Smith (“Noah”); Arturo Aranda (“Ernesto”); Horace Rogers (“Brian”); and Steven Kollar (“Bill”) complete the ensemble, with complex character development and “larger than life” issues that ensue. Each relationship is so real and poignant that even Freud would marvel!
Ajarae Coleman (who studied acting at Harvard) brings her beautiful character Ruth to life with eloquent monologues on the fickle nature of love: it can change a life, reboot a career, or merely complicate and overwhelm both.
She begins and ends with a childhood recollection of “how dolls were little people treated with respect.” Ruth is a fragile doll herself; the show cleverly employs flashbacks, and split stage dialogues on male/female dynamics (a la Woody Allen) to trace Ruth’s journey from college coed to therapy patient to wife and mother, in perpetual search for fulfillment.
Through May 24th
Working Stage Theatre
1516 N. Gardner St.
Fri & Sat 8 p.m.
Sun & Mon 7 p.m.