Regional Reviews: Los Angeles
Mitzi Sinnott's one-woman show is part political statement and part theatre. As the former, it is a pretty powerful piece, as she recountsand, with certain dramatic license, reenactsher father's experience in Vietnam. An African-American soldier fighting the "white man's war" while blacks were fighting for equality back home, Lorenzo wanted only to stay alive and return to the love of his life. Sinnott also acknowledges how difficult it was for her mother, a pregnant white woman carrying a black man's child, in a time and place where a mixed-race relationship could lose you your job and the support of your family.
But the show really gets going when we learn what happened to Lorenzo in Vietnam. He was injured and he killed a man, face-to-face. And while both of these events left permanent scars, it was the latter that caused the most damage. The Lorenzo who returned from the war was not the man Yvonne fell in love withmoody and distant, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and hospitalized. He ultimately left the family when Mitzi was very young, and was not heard from again.
More than 20 years later, the now-adult Mitzi went on a quest to find her fathera trip that took her across the country, through miles of red tape, and into the heart of an invisible and overlooked population of homeless veterans. Mitzi's encounters with these men, and, yes, the father she eventually found, is a moving and eye-opening glimpse into a group of individuals who did their duty for, and have subsequently been disserved by, their country. And it is a painful reminder that this is a mistake we cannot afford to make again.
As an actual piece of theatre, though, Snapshot is not as good as it could be. Sinnott wrote the piece, and the production has no one credited as director. This is unfortunate; the play could surely benefit from another set of eyes, editing the story and making it less like the stereotypical autobiographical one-person show. Sinnott has an important story to tell; she does not need to dress it up with bits where she portrays little kids dancing around to "Macho Man." And the final scene, while moving, picks up on a spiritual thread which had been barely hinted at earlier. There is a good play in Sinnott's experiences, but she needs some more help crafting it.
Snapshot runs through April 21 at the Greenway Court Theatre. For tickets and information, see www.mitzisinnott.com.
Greenway Court Theatre presents Snapshot, written and performed by Mitzi Sinnott. Brian H. Kim, Projection Designer; Jeffrey Porter, Lighting Designer; Joel Wilhelmi, Sound Design; Diane McCarthy, Choreographer; John Freeland Jr., Sound Technician; Matthew Ward, Lighting and Projection Technician.