The #MeToo era has been brought to light by unrelentingly brave female voices. Sobriety of Fear, and specifically its playwright and solo performer Shaun Michael Johnson, successfully turns the light on domestic abuse and its myriad and devastating effects on one entire family.
When we first meet her, Asha, an embattled housewife, is preparing to slit her wrists when she receives a call from her friend Brenda. We soon hear her telling Brenda the secrets of her marriage to the abusive LeRoy. With this minimal Greek style setup, the audience is completely dependent on Asha to paint the portrait of her terrified family and on Johnson to help us see them; Asha, LeRoy and the couple’s young son, Rudy.
Sobriety of Fear
closes July 28, 2018
Details and tickets
Asha’s storytelling fluctuates between the past and present, which has ample potential to lose the audience in confusion or boredom. Johnson avoids this with excellent posturing and distinct vocal inflections. Johnson’s gesticulations and mannerisms are distinct and dramatic – Rudy’s sheepish grin, LeRoy’s swaying motion and hard sneer.
But throughout the play, we find ourselves grasping onto Asha, whose sorrowful eyes and pained smile ground the audience to an abused mother and wife’s suffering.
Recurring themes and symbols emerge as the audience delves deep into the psyche of a cornered woman trapped between two men: one who beats her and another who depends on her.
For those who doubt that one man can tell a story all too familiar to women across the globe, you will be proven wrong. Johnson successfully answers the question “You should have seen him” through an astute female lens.
Sobriety of Fear . written and performed by Shaun Johnson . Directed by Mediombo Fofana . Presented by Capital Fringe. Reviewed by Alexandra Kelley.