The play presents a mosaic of female identities (including a male who longs to “cut a very fine figure in a dress”) across time, each carrying an emotional burden of regret or guilt specific to their time. All are linked by a quest for understanding.
It all starts with, and is held together by, a modern day Sadie avatar.
We first meet Modern Day Sadie (Katie Hillman), a millennial who storms out of a tent in the woods. She’s having a meltdown because her “self-imposed technology blackout” has cut her off from cell phone use for an agonizing nine hours.
“People are probably trying to get to me,” she says unconvincingly.
Then, the stage is taken over by another character, Old West Sadie (Deborah Randall), who bursts from the tent brandishing a revolver and carrying a coil of rope.
Old West Sadie’s melancholy monologue touches on her violent past, someone named Marie, a mysterious map and a beloved horse called Chester.
“I shot me a man, but only once,” she recollects.
The next persona is Shipwrecked Sadie (Christina Day), a British fop in a court suit who has escaped from pirates and has a reverie about gender identity.
Finally, there’s Extra-Solar Sadie, out fitted in goggles, a sleek space suit and silver boots. She chats with an unseen entity that communicates with electronic bleats. Her world is gone, leaving only cultural vestiges like swing records.
“We killed almost everything,” she says with a shrug.
Up until now, each Sadie has appeared solo, so it’s an abrupt transition when all four are suddenly on stage together as employees in a Macy’s dress department somewhere in a decaying mall. The simultaneous appearance of four dress mannequins with detachable heads lends more food for thought.
The Macy’s scene highlight is a hilarious monologue by Victor (Day) about being a waiter who turned into a stalker. Meanwhile, the employees bustle about, dropping aphorisms and tidying displays in a store that seems to have no customers.
As the play moves toward conclusion, reflections on life emerge left and right, including this sound piece of advice from Old West Sadie:
“Always drink your whiskey from your shootin’ hand so as to appear friendly.”
Randall, who plays Old West Sadie, is also the play’s director and the founder of Venus Theatre. She keeps a lively pace to the play, which is the 63rd for the 30-seat theater.
Author Faletto has had her work developed and produced at many venues, including the Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival.
“This Little Light” continues at Venus, 21 C St. in Laurel, until March 25 with 8 p.m. performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday and a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Tickets are $40 for the general public or $20 for members and $15 for seniors and students.