Milicent Wright is no stranger to one-woman shows; Bridge & Tunnel, now on stage at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, is her fifth. Being the only player on stage for 90 minutes straight is daunting enough, but Wright also takes on fifteen characters—child to senior, male and female, and varied ethnicities—complete with complementary costume accessories.
The characters are participants in a poetry gathering for immigrants. They present their personal stories and poetry, some of it commentary on the life of an immigrant but also insights into the person as just an individual. These snippets remind us that immigrants aren’t the enemy; they are our fellow human beings with emotions and experiences everyone can relate to. The play also challenges Americans’ perception of immigrants, including one woman from Australia—not the sort of ethnicity many people call to mind when thinking of “immigrants.”
Wright is amazing on stage, and with direction from Richard Roberts, she transitions from personality to personality, giving each one a distinguishing characteristic and accent. Costume designer Katie Cowan Sickmeier completes the effect with a visual clue over Wright’s multipurpose black-on-black foundation.
Some situations are sober, such as the Pakistani host’s harried phone conversations with his wife concerning a federal investigation, which frames the show, but Wright’s exuberant interpretations of the light-hearted performances are laugh-out-loud worthy. Wright truly appears to be enjoying every moment in the spotlight, and her enthusiasm is infectious.
I was disappointed that the host’s story didn’t end with some clue as to what would happen next, and some of Wright’s accents blended too close together. However, her standing ovation was well-deserved.