Less than a week ago I was a Fringe virgin, tentatively taking my seat as I prepared to see a show about elementary school crushes and Hallmark Valentines stamped Return to Sender. Four shows later, I can almost call myself a savvy Fringer, flashing my badge and glibly leafing through my press packet as I wait for the curtain to go up.
How fitting, then, that my latest — and last — blog subject is a one-woman show about women who are highly skilled at the art of love — or rather, satisfying men. Nancy Eng’s THE WOMEN OF TU-NA HOUSE is a moving and at times heart-crushing show about the workers at an Asian massage parlor that doubles (not-so-secretly) as a brothel. From the madam whose constancy lands her a brownstone in New York to the worker who can’t stop crying after her cat dies (and whose tears earn her a generous tip), the stories are moving and gritty and real.
Too real for the not-so-savvy Fringers out there? Not at all: interspersed with stories of desperation and truncated hopes is humor. Lots of it. As a matter of fact, Nancy Eng manages to weave so much wit into these women’s yarns that we almost see these characters as friendly aunts, dispensing age-old advice on men and sex and life. Never mind how they arrived at it, their vista from the baser level of human existence earns them a certain wisdom that asks — demands — us to take note.
And we do. How can we not? In addition to being a deft storyteller, Eng is a skilled actress, a chameleon as she moves from one character to the next. She has quite a few up her sleeve, but each one feels new. Unlike her characters’ encounters, there’s no wham-bam repetition in these characters or their tales.
In the end, just like the Tu-Na House customers, everyone — sophisticated and naive Fringers alike — will leave feeling satisfied.
3 thoughts on “THE WOMEN OF TU-NA HOUSE at The Hollywood Fringe”
Thank you for coming, enjoying the performance and blogging about it! Coming from NYC to another city is not easy but performing your own material, not knowing how the work will be received or if it is good enough for that matter, adds another level of stress. However reading your review affirms that I made the right decision and gives me confidence to continue with my writing in the hopes of producing something just as good or even better. I hope more people discover LAFPI and realize all the support, good work and encouragement your organization provides. Thank you once again for attending my show and for help making my first visit to L.A. a truly wonderful experience. I’ll definitely be back!
All the best,
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