“Girls’ Night (With Spirits)” is an audio play about all kinds of spirits—from the dead to the undead, to the weight we carry in our hearts and souls. Guess which type causes the most grief?
…an evocative, moody, and fairly short piece with some very fine actors…
The Welders is a DC-based playwrights’ collective founded in 2013. Now on the third generation of Welders’ playwrights, they have produced an intriguing exploration of what holds us back from life. So the spirits involved (including some wine) are quite appropriate.
“Girls’ Night (With Spirits)” is written by Teshonne Nicole Powell (she also plays the character Charlotte and she’s funny in that two minute scene) and directed by Ayesis Clay. Four wonderful actors have gathered here —Karen Elle as Rey, our protagonist; Alverneq Lindsay as Estelle, the fixer of spirits; Sophia Early as Sad Spirit (she’s really chilling); and Lolita Marie as Rey’s Grandmama. DJ Horn takes a quick turn as D who leaves a message for Rey. The music and sound is curated and designed by Cresent Haynes and he does a superb job of helping to bring this audio play to vivid life.
But it’s Powell’s words that really create the mind-movie that this work conjures up. They are prosaic, poetic, and frantic and with attitude—whatever is needed. These four actors work very well together, and create a story arc from fear and defensiveness to hope and choice.
Rey has reason to be afraid. She’s a gifted interactor with the dead and, in only a few months, they seem to have deserted her. Except for the Sad Spirit who followed Rey when she fled from old apartment to a new one to get away from the increasingly smothering neediness of Sad Spirit. It’s not that easy, though.
Estelle has secrets. She’s incredibly long-lived, in a way, and it turns out she might be a vampire. She worked for years with another gifted spirit reader, until her partner died of old age and liver damage (seems spirits are enough to drive one to drink because they simply have no sense of personal boundaries). Ghosts, haunts, spirits—whatever you want to call them—don’t like Estelle. They sense her wrongness as a living human. So Estelle’s been searching for a new gifted spirit reader, along with her now deceased-partner. They settled on Rey.
Of course, Estelle doesn’t jump right in with that news when she arrives on Rey’s doorstep on October 31. In the course of the evening, these two ladies with talents go through some changes, but reach a sort of tentative understanding. It will ultimately be up to Rey, but she’ll have a chance to make that choice.
Early is exceptional as Sad Spirit and really did give me chills. She has excellent control of her voice and uses it like an instrument to evoke emotions and dreams.
This is a lovely little work by Powell of The Welders. Powell is probably halfway through her time with this collective and her writing is assured. Casting Estelle as a vampire sort of threw me. It seems that if one is delving into the supernatural one can come up with other plausible reasons for a woman having a life-span of about 170 years (so far), other than vampires—they’re just too trite for this.
If you’re in the mood for an evocative, moody, and fairly short piece with some very fine actors, spend time with this audio production. In the end, we all have to accept ourselves and live true to our hearts, no matter how many changes, and this work embodies that.
Running Time: One hour and 10 minutes or so with no intermission.
Advisory: References to drugs, suicide, violence, blood, and explicit language.
“Girls’ Night (With Spirits)” runs through November 5, 2021, on a virtual platform in the form of an audio play, presented by The Welders, Washington, DC. For more information, please click here.