La Vie Theatre Presents “I am Sophie” Written by Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

La Vie Theatre Presents “I am Sophie”
“I am Sophie” written and performed by Corinne Show, directed by Susan Angelo runs through September 2.

Running August 17 through September 2, Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm & Sunday September 2 at 5pm, August 31 & September 1 at 4pm & 8pm
“I Am Sophie” is a one women play about one woman who becomes another.

But it’s a little bit more beautifully complicated than that. Something between a fairytale and a survival guide to loss. Loss of self, loss of direction and loss of a loved one.

To set the scene we have Sophie as our guide. Born in Minnesota, re-born in Paris as a teenager on an exchange year, Sophie is the kind of vivacious, life-loving French women we dream of spending summers with in the south of France. She spirals effortlessly through her days with charming truths and deeply thought observations about her life and those around her all spoken in lyrical and loving, sweetly accented prose. Only she is not French and her alter ego Kate, whose family she cuckolds much to their confusion, is hidden away beneath the frothy and exquisite Sophie in a kind of self-imposed retreat from the realities of the life she loathes and her slowly declining and beloved father. Her family are torn between their love for Kate and their acceptance of their Kate’s Sophie. But they know only too well how Kate spent many years in deep depression and even attempted suicide. There are many subtle layers to their toleration of her choice to live as she puts it as “her truest self.”

So what is this play exactly? It’s hard to define really, it’s a puzzle, a person in a paradox unveiling themselves before us. It’s a journey through a long moment of a life. A moment of extreme distress, loss and struggle to survive. Yet “I am Sophie” is much more a cry for freedom than a cry for help. We all struggle with identity, don’t we? Are we mothers, are we daughters, are we lovers, friends, women, men, queer, alone? How we define ourselves ultimately means so much more than how others define us, although it can take a lifetime to work that out and it’s impossibly hard for some of us to ever know how to do that…I only wish there was an app.

“I am Sophie” is a beautiful, gentle, contemplative riff on who we allow ourselves to be. When we were young and unburdened by ego we happily played at being other people. We dressed up, had tea parties, pretended, mimicked and spoke in all manner of strange accents and affectations, and we felt perfectly free to do so. As we grew up we lost the ability to play, to reflect of what makes us who we are and just became what others expected us to be…even those of us who pushed the limits of that are still confined by whatever society surrounds us. So how do we let go of all that and find the best version of ourselves? Is it just as simple as speaking with an accent? Not for Sophie. She chose to save herself by moving to France and becoming the light she so desperately sought. An alternative to depression and suicide and a gift to us who watch her transfixed as she bravely navigates her new life in spite of her father’s passing and other people’s uncomfortable silences. Sophie reminds us that in the end we have only ourselves to prove anything to and in the small hours of the night when we are quite alone, that is all that truly matters.

“I am Sophie,” written and performed by the sublime Corinne Shor is a bold and fearless ode to what makes our hearts sing and saves us from the darkness…it is a strange and beguiling story, as only the best stories are, about a woman who becomes another woman not to survive but to thrive.