A Slice of Life

Every person has a unique story to tell. Danusia Trevino uses performance in order to share her narrative with us. Her play Wonder Bread traces one woman's journey from Poland to the US -- and sometimes back again -- through theatrical storytelling. There are many bright moments in this somewhat inconsistent piece that make it a tale worth seeing performed. The play follows her through her tumultuous life story. We see her at all stages of her life: as a child dealing with her parents, as a teenage girl seeking her international route of escape, as a young woman desperate to find herself and fit the skin of her new American identity. The events are told in and out of linear time; we jump back and forth from recent moments to those further in the past. This technique, although at times disorienting, highlights the connections between different aspects of her life. We see all of life's subtle causes and effects.

Trevino is quite charming throughout. There is a tender sweetness to her self-portrayal. Rather than using an ensemble of players to fill out the world of her tale, she plays every role in her life story, with varying levels of success in terms of believability. She uses iconic items that emblematize each "other" in her tale, evoking some essential aspect of that individual's self.

The stage literally becomes cluttered with items -- and strewn with tomatoes -- before the play is done. This clutter diminishes the overall effect of the stage picture somewhat. The progression of the narrative suggests that the final image should focus provocatively on Danusia. Instead, we see her almost engulfed by all the detritus of the events that brought her to this moment. Perhaps, however, that is the point -- Danusia will always have these bits of her past surrounding her. She will carry her past with her, no matter where she goes or what she does.

There are elements in this play that do not quite work. There are a number of physical movements and dances that do not quite come across as effectively as they might. Their meanings remain vague in terms of the larger story arc. Still, the stage space is well-utilized and the intimacy of the space emphasizes the confessional nature of the piece.

Overall, Wonder Bread is a sweet, personal story told by a lovable individual. It reminds its viewer to keep a privileged place in her heart for the place from which she came and for all those with whom she has come into contact. One never knows which little details could lead to compelling theater. It could be something as simple as one's first slice of Wonder Bread.

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