The world premiere of Iris Bahr’s “See You Tomorrow” at Theater J invites audiences along on a frantic, guilt-driven, and semi-neurotic journey about a woman who is determined to help her mother at all costs—even if her mother is located nearly eight thousand miles away. This autobiographical piece straddles the line between stand-up and just a raw, confessional conversation in which Bahr is unafraid of bearing her soul and does so unapologetically.
…an evocative show that reveals the inner workings of one woman’s mind in a vulnerable and deeply heartfelt way.
It all begins with a FaceTime call during the pandemic. Bahr, explaining that she possesses an uncanny ability to know when something is wrong with her parents, interprets a strange moment and an uncharacteristic pause as something far worse. Proceeding to reach out to everyone she knows in Israel to check on her mother, Bahr then takes us through, in rather hilarious fashion, the painstaking process of trying to connect her Israel-based mom with an ambulance. Bahr is located in Los Angeles and waits on the other end of the line, anxiously staring up at a dusty, bug-filled light fixture given the phone’s random orientation, as the commotion ensues.
We then get to travel with Bahr as she makes her way to Israel where she proceeds to convince the entire medical staff of a hospital, if not an entire country, that her mother needs help. Period. For Bahr, a huge part of this journey seems to be her need to have people listen to her. Ostensibly voiceless during a critical life moment and a catastrophic global event, Bahr does slowly gain a voice, at least when it comes to the care of her mother, and it’s a pretty powerful one at that.
It is the sidebars to the story that fill in this comedy of errors with the funny aspect of things—the hiring and firing of a series of inept caregivers; the interactions with her apathetic, ultra-hairy “baby daddy;” and the logistics of navigating her way from LA to Israel during a worldwide quarantine. Certainly there is a ton of funny material here that translates—as delivered with Bahr’s somewhat cynical and self-avowed co-dependent spin—to laugh-out-loud gold.
A fairly short piece, the play still manages to pack in a great deal so that the audience really does get a fully realized portrait of a highly relatable parent/child dynamic. Just as with the material, the production itself is stripped down, smartly spotlighting Bahr’s words, her engaging mannerisms, and her tell-it-like-it-is sensibility. Bahr takes the stage in a simple tank top and black slacks. Her only props are a couple of ottomans, a box of Kleenex and a phone—signaling the nature of the journey that awaits. The set design is isolated to a large screen upon which the color of the moment gets projected. It proves an incredibly compelling way to iterate not only Bahr’s emotional state, but the pitch of the events as they unfold. To this end, the team of Nephelie Andonyadis (scenic design) and Jesse W. Belsky (lighting design) make absolute magic out of very simple elements. All in all, this is an evocative show that reveals the inner workings of one woman’s mind in a vulnerable and deeply heartfelt way. Bahr holds nothing back as she gives us her life, her relationship with her mom, her fears and insecurities, and her small, fist-pumping wins on one very funny platter.
Running Time: Fifty minutes with no intermission.
“See You Tomorrow” runs through November 22, 2023 at Theater J, 1529 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20036. For more information or to purchase tickets, go online.