Ina Chadwick, whose MouseMuse Productions presents storytelling shows throughout Fairfield County, and who, as a storyteller herself, just took part in the inaugural episode of the new “Get to the Point!” storytelling series at New Haven’s Café Nine, continues to stretch and challenge audiences with her “Real Stories, Real People” series at the Bijou Theatre.
The last MouseMuse production at the Bijou was a large-cast interlinking monologue-based piece. Saturday’s show, T-O-T-A-L-L-Y Kimleigh, Totally Bijou! is a one-person show—the most common format for memoir-style storytelling events—but the content and presentational style stand out, even in an artform notorious for being highly personalized and intimately provocative.
T-OT-A-L-L-Y, written and performed by Kimleigh Smith, is about her experience being gang-raped by a college football team and her attempts to cope and persevere afterward. Smith reportedly relates the story with a great deal of disarming humor, and adds an overarching theme of comic-book heroism.
Chadwick says she first heard about Smith a couple of years ago, but didn’t have the appropriate venue or series for T-OT-A-L-L-Y. The piece has played theaters, festivals and conferences around the country, and has won awards at major fringe theater festivals in New York and Hollywood. When Chadwick began producing at the lushly renovated Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport, she contacted Smith (who is now based in Los Angeles) and arranged to bring her back East for what appears to be her Connecticut debut.
Raised in Japan and Kansas, Kimleigh Smith’s acting career began in Chicago, where she originally settled in order to become a professional dancer. She appeared in shows at Steppenwolf, Lookingglass and The Goodman, one of which—The Steppenwolf’s adaptation of Mark Twain’s Puddn’head Wilson—was restaged in L.A. and got her noticed by Garry Marshall, who cast her in The Princess Diaries.
T-O-T-A-L-L-Y Kimleigh, Totally Bijou! happens 8 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Bijou Theatre, 275 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport. $25, $30 for “cabaret seating.” (203) 332-3228, thebihoutheatre.comCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun