Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

Coming of age for playwright
is found in her first world premiere

By Kevin Johnson

Also see John's review of Jacques Brel

Lela Elam
Gay, straight, hearing, deaf: these words and more are labels explored in Lauren Feldman's Fill Our Mouths, a world premiere now playing at New Theatre in Coral Gables.

Fill Our Mouths is set in Paris and tells the story of two women, one who is hearing, the other hearing impaired. As their bond deepens, their other relationships are challenged. Stuck between different worlds, they set on a journey to understand each other and try learning to cope with the situations that surround them.

The play's title is taken from a Pablo Neruda poem, which Feldman learned a long time ago. "I'd forgotten about the beauty and power of poetry. I read this poem and it thrilled me. I now read it often."

Let's not fill our mouths
with so many uncertain names,
with so many sad labels,
with so many pompous letters,
with so much yours and mine,
with so much signing of papers.

As a member of the local theatre community, Lauren Feldman performed in productions at City Theatre, Mosaic Theatre, and GableStage. In 2005, Feldman was accepted into the playwriting graduate program at Yale School of Drama. She is expected to graduate this spring.

Fill Our Mouths is Feldman's first full-length play, originating from a showcase at Yale. Ricky J. Martinez, New Theatre's artistic director, saw the play up there and was immediately drawn to it. "The intense rawness of humanity coming from Lauren initially gripped me."

The unique component of this production is the use of sign language throughout. The actors had to learn signing from instructional video provided by Feldman. Connections also factored here as well. Directing Fill Our Mouths is Gail Garrisan, who served as City Theatre's artistic director when Feldman was an intern.

Garrisan was ready to steady her former apprentice's growth as a playwright. "Lauren has an innate honesty and kindness as well as talent. One couldn't ask for more in a collaborator."

Feldman was ecstatic when she learned who was going to be at the helm. "It's always a joy working with Gail, she knows the way I work and vice versa. It's nice that we get each other."

Garrisan says that Fill Our Mouths is about people's need to put labels on things even though they could be misinterpreted. "It's about human nature and the way we name things. Plus it has questions that are not easily solved like are things black or white, ever?"

The actors also second the play's dynamics. Katherine Tanner plays Evan, a writer who is searching for life beyond her ordinary world. "This story is about the struggles people have when they're between worlds". The Sarasota-based actor defines Evan as very curious when she sets her sights on Chap, a bakery worker.

Garrisan urges people to see this play because of the two worlds that need to be spotlighted: the deaf and gay communities. "They are the jumping off point for the exploration of our need to label ourselves and others. And, quite simply, it is a good play. Lauren is a thoughtful and lyrical writer. Come and discover her!"

Fill Our Mouths plays through February 10th at New Theatre, 4120 Laguna Street, Coral Gables. For more information, please call 305-443-5909 or visit

New Theatre - Fill Our Mouths
Written by Lauren Feldman

Cast: Katherine Michelle Tanner, Lela Elam, Kim Ehly, Brandon Morris and Caroline Edelen

Set Design: Rob Eastman-Mullins
Assistant to the Set Designer: Yams Salomon
Costume Design: Blair Brown
Lighting Design: Michael Foster
Sound Design: M. Anthony Reimer
ASL Coach: Steven Chambers
Production Stage Manager: Betsy Paull-Rick
Assistant Stage Manager: Vanessa Thompson
Directed by Gail Garrisan

Photo: Eileen Suarez

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