On Tuesday, playwright/comedian/actor Lauren Weedman shared the Boise Contemporary Theater stage with one lone chair as roughly 50 patrons watched a reprisal of her one-woman show No, You Shut Up.
For members of the audience who saw Weedman's original play when it premiered at BCT in 2008, the show was at once familiar—she wore the same black and white boots—and new. Weedman has turned awkward into an art form. Watching her talk her way into uncomfortable situations with everyone from a guy sitting next to her on a plane, to her niece, to a nervous tattoo artist, to her boyfriend's gay father, son and dead wife's sister, to an adoption agency bureaucrat proved Weedman well-deserving of the title "artist." There were points during the play that changes in her voice and mannerisms, though not excessive, were so well executed it was easy to suspend disbelief and forget for a moment that every character was being portrayed by Weedman.
Though practically a new play, the motif of Weedman's struggle with what constitutes family—the idea that it is both people you don't choose and people you do—was still the thread that wove the acts together. While the memory of the original play may be that it was laugh-out-loud funny, the No, You Shut Up redux was a reminder that sometimes the laughter was due more to nervousness than high comedic moments. The play is too bittersweet to fall completely under the umbrella of a comedy. There were some absolutely drop-dead funny scenes during the 85-minute run time—like when Weedman dances up the walk to her parents' house to mask her anxiety at visiting—but they are tinged with the crimson blush of embarrassment for a woman who doesn't seem to know when to shut up.
Strangely enough, though, you could listen to her talk for hours.
The play runs through Saturday, March 5, at 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Tickets are $15.