On Stage

The Shoe Play

A sole-searching story

Attend

What: Quality: The Shoe Play

Where: 12th Street Shoes, 1204 Harris Ave.

More:

WHEN: 7:30pm July 28-30 and Aug.

Cost: $15

Info: http://www.bellinghamtheatreworks.org

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

There were a few moments during last Friday’s showing of Quality: The Shoe Play when the fourth wall got a bit wobbly.

It wasn’t a big surprise. Since Bellingham TheatreWorks is staging the play about two women fighting a sole-searching battle for supremacy at a high-end shoe store at an actual shoe store, the conceptual barrier between the fictional work and its viewers was already thinner than one would expect at a night at the theater.

But rather than detract from the performance, the short periods of reality—an ambulance roaring by Fairhaven’s 12th Street Shoes, the actresses brushing within centimeters of audience members sitting in the front row, and a friendly passerby stopping to hold the store’s front doors open for one of the characters who appeared to be struggling with a large box—only added to the appeal.

In fact, by the time Pippa (Western Washington University senior Jacki Campbell) smiled and said “thank you” to the helpful pedestrian who opened the door for her as she entered the “stage” from the sidewalk, I was already hooked. The fact that she didn’t miss a beat when dealing with exterior forces kept me on the line.

Following a script by Vancouver-based playwright Elaine Avila with direction by WWU grad Kayla Adams, the story focuses on what happens after Pippa uses her smarts to get hired at a famous designer’s shoe store by the savvy, sexy manager, Roxanne (Brie Turoff Mueller, a recent New York City transplant).

Thanks to Pippa’s ability to both channel the personalities of shoes and also follow Roxanne’s lead—at least when it comes to how to deal with the fussy customers who purchase the expensive footwear—she’s soon the leading saleswoman.

But it turns out that beneath her mild-mannered exterior, Pippa is more ambitious than she lets on. While Roxanne is centered on keeping the brand classic and out-of-reach to all but those with financial fortitude, Pippa reaches out to the designer to suggest lower-cost alternatives. When her ideas are implemented, the two strong women come to an impasse.

Because it’s a two-person play, the audience never sees the customers they’re catering to. Instead, the duo channels the women through “lessons” Roxanne imparts to Pippa, where they both take on the personalities of everyone from a filthy-rich actress to an overweight socialite and a woman who has saved up for a year to be able to purchase a pair of sought-after heels.

Among the hilarity of what I’m going to call a “shoe-gasm” and lighter moments that see the two accomplished actresses banter with each other like sparring partners, Quality: The Shoe Play also features deeper issues such as jealousy and self-worth—relating both to the customers and its employees.

Once Pippa sees that Roxanne has spent years passing on her ideas on to the designer—“I’m his muse!” Roxanne argues—she makes it clear that she won’t let that happen to her.

I could tell that resonated with other members of the audience, as well. There’s a telling moment when Roxanne is defending herself to Pippa when she declares that she is happy being the inspiration for such a great man.

“Inspire yourself,” the woman behind me muttered.

You’ll have to purchase a ticket to the play to find out if that’s what ultimately happens, but suffice it to say that for both Pippa and Roxanne, the outcome—and the play itself—is about a whole lot more than shoes.

Silver Reef Stay and Fly
More On Stage...
Going Greek
Sophocles and beyond

iDiOM Theater isn’t known for its restraint. Not long after wrapping up its regular season with a mainstage production of Sarah Ruhl’s genre- and gender-bending play Orlando at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, the most prolific theater company around announced its Summer Rep lineup.

They…

more »
Fairhaven Rep
A stage for the summer

No matter what, the shows will go on.

That’s one of the important messages to be gleaned from reading about Bellingham TheatreWorks’ current Kickstarter campaign, which aims to raise funds to give a boost to its inaugural Fairhaven Summer Repertory Theatre season.

The ambitious…

more »
Untamed
Bard on the Beach

Contrary to popular belief, The Taming of the Shrew isn’t a romantic comedy.

The fact that its protagonist, the outspoken and independent Kate, is supposedly “tamed” by her husband Petruchio causes some to see William Shakespeare’s sometimes-controversial play as an anti-romantic comedy…

more »
Events
Today
Community Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

4:00pm|Vanier Park

Scrubs Camp

8:30am|Bellingham Technical College

Perspectives from the Port

11:30am| Northwood Hall

Wellness Wednesdays

12:00pm|Skagit Riverwalk Plaza

Wednesday Farmers Market

2:00pm|Barkley Village Green

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Backdoor to Baker

6:30pm|Prime Sports Institute

Brewers Cruise

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Thomas Harris and Kevin Woods Quintet

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Summer Funny

9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Village Books
Tomorrow
Community Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Blues and Brews

5:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Community Pint Night for Planned Parenthood

6:00pm

Fiction Writing Group

6:00pm|Village Books

Elizabeth Park Summer Concert Series

6:00pm|Elizabeth Park

Incognito

6:00pm|Ciao Thyme

Joe and Carol Young

6:00pm|Chuckanut Center

Life Between the Pages Dinner Book Club

6:30pm|Evolve Chocolate + Cafe

Mediterranean Mezzes

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

James and the Giant Peach

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Nunsense

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

House Concert with Yogoman and Bongo Jac

7:30pm|Chuckanut Center

Ajax

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books
Friday
Community Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Nunsense

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

James and the Giant Peach

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Marine Park

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Valley Writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Ferndale Farmers Market

2:00pm|1750 LaBounty Dr.

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Fourth Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Whatcom Cultural Arts Festival

5:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Orca Month Kayak Tour

5:30pm|Waypoint Park

Harper&I Dance presents Through the Decades

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Briseis

7:30pm|Maritime Heritage Park

Writer's Block, PainProv

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Comedy Benefit for Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood

9:00pm|The Shakedown

see our complete calendar »

Support Vertical Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books Trove Web