Friday, December 2, 2011

"I Didn't Sign Up For This" ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

The promise that we felt with Julia Jackson's then-incomplete "I Didn't Sign Up For This," when we saw it back in April, has been excitingly fulfilled. The show, which relates the story of a female couple trying to adopt a baby, features the very talented Jackson playing many characters, including herself, her partner, herself as a small child, people from the adoption agency, the birth mom, the birth mom's mom, the birth mom's boy friend, a therapist, a social worker...and we know we've forgotten more than a few.

She does it all with body language and vocal inflection. Some of her set pieces are of two different characters interacting with each other. She moves in and out of character with no more than a turn of her head or a very minimal light cue. Props: one folding chair.

And what a story. $41,000 for a white baby, $15,000 for a black baby. Trina, the birth mom, who is trying to kick alcohol while Clarence, the baby's father is doing his best to get away from crack. The story kicks you in the gut and then makes it all better with a belly laugh. But none of this would be possible without a performance as strong as Julia Jackson's.

Sadly, the show is done for the year. Jackson hopes for a long run in April, and when that happens we will urge you to run to see it.

RATINGS ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Julia Jackson's "I Didn't Sign Up For This" Four Stars. In a city of standout solo performers, Jackson can hang with any of them. Imagine a combination of Sara Felder and Ann Randolph -- and you come close. She is another of the fine performers honing their craft with W. Kamau Bell at the Solo Performance Workshop. We're sure we'll be seeing "I Didn't Sign Up For This" in the future, perhaps in a larger venue.

Julia Jackson: "I Didn't Sign Up For This"
Stage Werx Theatre
(NEW ADDRESS:) 446 Valencia Street between 15th and 16th Streets, San Francisco

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