Sunday, March 04, 2007


Juliette Regnier showcases talents in ‘SHORN’ at Dobama

Juliette Regnier readily admitted during the after-show discussion of ‘SHORN,’ now being performed at Dobama Theatre, that she is an actress, not a playwright. In spite of this, Regnier has penned what, for lack of a better description, is a performance piece entitled ‘SHORN.’

‘SHORN’ brings to life the stories of three French women, who had sex with Nazis during World War II. Much like Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘THE SCARLET LETTER,’ who was branded with wearing the scarlet “A” to identify her as an adulterer, these “collaborators” had their heads shaved and were marched through the streets as models of shame.

It mattered little that one was truly in love with the young German, another needed food and the third plied her trade as a prostitute and it would not have mattered what nationality her sex partner was.

‘SHORN,’ according to Regnier “looks at women as ‘collateral damage’ during war time through the lens of French women accused of being ‘complicit’ with the Nazis. She has obviously achieved this, at least in the eyes of the women who responded during the play’s after discussion.

In spite of what I consider to be a very compelling bit of acting, I have some problems with Regnier’s piece of work.

The first is the piece’s format. ‘SHORN’ starts and stops with several interludes. The pieces don’t really flow together. The use of a mime/clown to make bridges isn’t clearly defined. Most of the time the clown appears to be exactly what it is, a theatrical bridging device to loosely hold the parts together. If Regnier is going to go further with this piece, she needs to more completely develop why a clown was chosen and what the purpose of that figure is. As is, it’s just gimmick for the sake of gimmick.

In addition, it would seem to serve Regnier’s message better if she stressed her self inscribed purpose of, “And suddenly I was faced with the non-judgmental question of just how would a woman/I respond during the war?” Maybe her “clown” might challenge the audience with that question, thus developing the theme.

And, I did not find the woman clearly etched. Each should be more clearly fleshed out so that their underlying motives and their reasoning for their actions would clearer.

Capsule judgment: ‘SHORN,’ which is getting its world premiere at Dobama is an interesting evening of theatre, one that is thought provoking. Yet, because of its flawed script, ‘SHORN’ leaves one wishing for a more complete experience.