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Maddie Corman's "Accidentally Brave" at DR2 Theatre
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Maddie Corman's "Accidentally Brave" at DR2 Theatre

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Accidentally Brave

Written and Performed by
Maddie Corman

Directed by Kristin Hanggi

DR2 Theatre
101 East 15th Street
New York, NY 10003

Scenic Design: Jo Winiarski
Lighting Design: Jamie Roderick
Sound Design: Bart Fasbender
Projection Design: Elaine J. McCarthy
Original Music: Claire Wellin
Production Stage Manager: Marjorie Ann Wood
Production Supervisor: Chris Luner
Company Manager: Emma McElwee
Press: Vivacity Media Group
Advertising & Marketing: DR Advertising
General Management:
DR Theatrical Management

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 29, 2019

Maddie Corman’s gorgeously written and gut-wrenchingly performed Accidentally Brave is a gripping one-woman performance. Ms. Corman has received favorable reviews on these pages for her roles in “The Babylon Line”, “Next Fall”, “Appropriate”, and even a small part in “Picnic”. Through this new solo play, Ms. Corman shares the details of personal trauma, as well as stories about the reinvention of her marriage and family identity, after her husband, a television director and actor, was shockingly arrested at their Westchester home in 2015 for possessing and sharing child pornography.

Prior to a reenactment of that fateful day’s phone call from Ms. Corman’s daughter, the audience is given a sort of solo overture, to set the tone and artistic design. In this intimate theater, Ms. Corman reenacts multiple conversations with friends, neighbors, co-workers, relatives, some supportive and some detached, plus phone calls with a mystery angel, who calls to offer emotional support and guidance, after the case is publicized and Ms. Corman and her family are ostracized in the town.

As her husband is luckily offered a month or more of rehabilitation and years of probation, plus his registration as a sex offender, with no prison time, Ms. Corman talks about her experience as the only working parent, with an at-home, depressed, highly publicized partner. Financially downgraded, she sells the Westchester home, but not before one more Halloween with as many pumpkins as she can fit into her car. The family moves to Harlem, and her twin sons and daughter enroll in local schools. Fascinating to watch is one of the finest projection designs this season, thanks to Elaine McCarthy, with videos of suburban and urban routes, and fragments of scenes and props that facilitate the solo narrative. This is a very well-produced, quality show.

To illustrate her pain, Ms. Corman bends over and sends through the theater powerful primordial screams, which cleanse her soul and mind, or so it seems. She has certainly allowed the audience to understand her ongoing grief at the loss of all that was ordinary in her former lifestyle and daily planning, as well as the distinct loss of security and trust in her husband’s character and self-discipline. But she does not fully explain why she kept the marriage moving forward, nor does she reveal details of the crime or mental state of her husband. Tellingly, though, she ruminates on her children’s unwavering love and need for their father to remain in their home and in all aspects of their lives, and, impressively, she puts their needs on the pedestal they deserve. These are her choices and decisions, not the audience’s. She also reiterates, time and again, that she still loves her husband unconditionally and looks forward to a strong marriage, strengthened through crisis.

Jo Winiarski’s minimal, inventive sets are perfectly tuned to the play, with Jamie Roderick’s lighting and Bart Fasbender’s sound, along with Claire Wellin’s original music all merging to enhance the charged and complicated narrative. Kudos to Director, Kristin Hanggi, for keeping this show so captivating. Kudos to Maddie Corman for using her psychic energy in such an informative and theatrically meaningful way.

Maddie Corman in "Accidentally Brave"
Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel

Maddie Corman in "Accidentally Brave"
Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel