Stepping On a Few Toes: THE REVIEWS
What’s it like to grow up in a world of mixed messages? Jasmynne Shaye has that experience. As she walks us through her childhood, young adolescence and college days in her solo show now on view at the NoHo Stage, she tells a story that is at once familiar: a childhood surrounded by poverty and abuse, yet her life has been filled with signs of privilege.
What to make of her testimony that her single mother allowed a procession of men into the house, some who abused her, some abused her child; while giving her daughter a private school education through the eighth grade? Or finally, a stint with a stern, undemonstrative father who taught her the value of hard work to the point of servitude. Or the fact that she even made it to college despite the moral, financial and psychological set-backs that she experiences? The missing ingredient in her young life seems to be “love.”
by Leigh Kennicott
I don't know much about Jasmynne, but her one woman show "Stepping On A Few Toes" has been getting rave reviews, and has garnered many comparisons to last year's film "Precious." I'm not one to praise comparisons, per se, but I am a fan of any woman with the balls to stand half naked on a stage and tell her story. Here's some info about the show....
The next is this Friday, September 24th at the NoHo Stages, 8pm.
by LA Femmedia
LA Theatre Review
When she first took the stage, I had a hard time believing that the bubbly personality that was Jasmynne Shaye was capable of being anything else. However, in the same way Gabourey Sidibe was able to shed her giggly disposition to portray the downtrodden Precious in last year’s best picture nominee, Shaye had no trouble discarding her own charm, to present some less-than-charming material. The two talents are more than comparable. In her almost one-woman show, Stepping on a Few Toes, Shaye tells the story of her troubled upbringing with her mother, her attempts to take (and eventually reclaim) her own life, and most effectively, the power of forgiveness.
Shaye’s harrowing narrative of despair is punctuated by dance pieces, which enable her to lose herself. Dance, having been her solace throughout childhood and beyond, is equally a character in her show, as are the 12 different friends and family members she portrays. They enable Shaye to portray through movement and emotion what she might be unable to get across in the book of the play.
by Marcus Kaye
What makes one person's story compelling and another's banal? Maybe it's what people call soul. In her involving one-woman show, writer/performer Jasmynne Shaye describes growing up as the emotionally and sexually abused child of a single mother, and of her struggle to vanquish the demons bred of a lonely and loveless childhood. Like so many young Americans, Shaye, from first grade through her early teens, shared a decrepit housing-project apartment with her embittered mom and young (brother), and her mom's various boyfriends. When life at home became unbearable, she was packed off to live with her dad, an icy, tightfisted man who turned his daughter into a housebound Cinderella. As often with solo shows, Shaye portrays multiple characters; some depictions are crystal clear, others less so. Her narrative — rippling with accusatory recollections — is directed, in part toward her invisible mother, in part out to the audience. Fortunately, juxtaposed with the painful memories are a few happier interludes brought on mostly by her dancing, in which she excelled. Ultimately what snares our interest is not the novelty of her story — sadly all too common — but the expressive, intrepid way in which she tells it. Under Jaimyon Parker's direction, some scene shifts in this bare-bones production are awkward, slowed by Shaye's frequent costume changes. Although these transitions need to be finessed, this is one case in which budget limitations and technical shortcomings are eclipsed by the performer's compelling voice.
by Deborah Klugman
Amencipation Productions, LLC.
I recently had the opportunity to experience Stepping On a Few Toes, the one-woman show written and performed by Jasmynne Shaye. I purposely said “experience” because that’s exactly what Stepping On a Few Toes is, an experience. Jasmynne enters the stage in character. We, the audience, are instantly introduced to the focal point of the entire production, Jasmynne’s mother. We watch as she complains about “bad kids” and her disdain for them. We see her talking to an adolescent Jasmynne and explaining her views on discipline and motherhood. From here Jasmynne seamlessly transitions from character to character, some male, some female, and back to herself throughout her life. She paints beautifully painful images of sexual misconduct, child abuse and numerous other tragedies as she effortlessly flows through her life story.
by Wallace Demarria’
A strong statement about letting go of the past to achieve freedom and growth, “Stepping on a Few Toes” features a charming Jasmynne Shaye in an explicit look at emotional devastation, and how she overcomes it.
The show presents Shaye’s true life story of how she successfully defeats destructive situations, abuse and insecurity by finding faith, hope and love. It reveals her succeeding in following her dreams and making a happy and new contented life.
Director Jaimyon Parker’s strong stage setup suggests how Shaye is bringing repressed feelings and situations out of the closet, removing their hold on her.
Shaye possesses great charm, energy and emotion in baring her soul to purge the past, highlighted by a few touching dance numbers. “Stepping on a Few Toes” contains adult language and situations, as it dramatically reveals how forgiveness allows closure.
by Mary Mallory
Indie Arts Website
From the program cover alone, one knows going in that Jasmynne Shaye's new autobiographical one-woman show, Stepping On a Few Toes, will be, if nothing else, provocative. And while the subjects covered by the artist are indeed provocative, you quickly realize that it is about much more than mere titillation. Throughout the course of the evening Jasmynne introduces us to a host of characters, all played by herself, who have shaped her life - both in ways positive and destructive. We see her move easily from dark sketches of abusive relatives to comic portrayals of friends to inspiring portraits of the positive mentors in her life. Each significant moment of transition in her life is punctuated onstage by way of beautifully choreographed dance numbers which are at time tragically frail and at others muscular and angry. In the end, the only complaint this reviewer can make is wanting more. Some of the portrayals are so intriguing you wish each character had their own show. If the depth of this show is any indication, they just might. With Stepping On a Few Toes, you may cry, you will most probably laugh, you might even shake your head in disbelief, but one thing is for certain, no matter what else, you will be moved.
by Jean Gauthier