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T H E A T E R   R E V I E W  -  Caterpillar Soup Ruskin Theatre Group


 SANTA MONICA, CA - It’s so easy to get wrapped in your everyday lives. Whether working to pay off bills, or chasing your dreams, it is terribly easy to forget there are other people around you doing the same thing. Sometimes it is unfortunate when people face obstacles much more challenging than others.

As in the case of the one woman play Caterpillar Soup, Lyena Strelkoff seemed to have it all. A promising career in acting and dance, and a new found love are elements that would make the nicest person smile in appreciation. But with every story there is a twist. While out on an excursion with her new boyfriend, Lyena had an accident that left her paralyzed.

Performed in front of a simple scrim, displaying images and colors to set the mood, Ms. Strelkoff tells her story from a wheelchair. One thing to be noted, there should not be thoughts to feel sorry for her, nor does she want your pity. She is a storyteller and through her story the wheelchair simply vanishes sight, so to speak.

Caterpillar Soup takes its title from the description where a caterpillar inside a cocoon dissolves into the liquid before it morphs into a butterfly. This change in form perfectly symbolizes the playwright’s experience.

In this story, the audience member will learn about a dancer who must adjust to life in a wheelchair, her spiritual journey to understand her experience, and what happened with her new love who decided to stay by her side. 

There are some uncomfortable moments involving bodily functions that may make someone adjust themselves in his or her seat. In the overall picture take it as an educational lesson and there are many insights to be learned or reminded in this production.

Written by Lyena Strelkoff, the structure of Caterpillar Soup is impressive. There is a right amount of humor and does not go over the top with emotions. The audience member will easily go with the playwright. What did not work was reading cue cards during a Q&A bit. It only seemed to distract the performer and would be more effective if the questions were memorized.

Overall the story is moving and enlightening. Caterpillar Soup is recommended to see.

Presented by Mikey Myers for the Ruskin Theater Group and directed by Paul Linke, Caterpillar Soup performs at the Ruskin Group Theatre at 3000 Airport Drive, near the Santa Monica Airport, in Santa Monica, California. Running through November 21, 2004, performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. General Admission is $20.00. Students and Seniors have a discounted price of $15.00. For reservations and more info, please call 310-397-3244. - Adrian Rennie

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