By Mehr Gunawardena
“Et Le Lion,” written and performed by Elizabeth Seldin, is about a woman named Cecilia whose father recently passed away. She must choose whether to take over her father’s tea shop. When she enters the shop for the first time in years, she is overcome by nostalgia and grief. She is then approached by a woman named Maeve looking for a psychic. Although Cecilia informs her that the psychic who used to work there had left, Maeve is insistent. Cecilia remembers what her father told her about magic and mysticism. She finds her father’s deck of tarot cards and pores over his instructions: “You ask for a suitable energy exchange and then build a boundary.” Her immersion in the ways of the tarot awakens her resilience. the play, which depicts several encounters between the two women, reminds us that “our minds and thoughts are not our souls.”
Ms. Seldin’s hypnotic voice tells us how Cecilia’s “ship broke down from splinters and heartbreak.” Neither her doctor, nor her energy healer, nor her trauma therapist could fix her. Only she could, because she was the one making herself sick. She needed to forgive herself and let go of her anchors, so she could swim to the surface and breathe.
Ms. Seldin performed this piece naturally and with a lightness. Her eyes projected raw emotion, but she restrained showing the depths of pain until the very end, when she released it all. Her performance ripped a hole in my chest. It opened my eyes to the importance of knowing oneself, loving oneself, and caring for oneself. Even when that means making difficult choices.
“Et Le Lion” touched me in an unexpected way. Ms. Seldin’s acute observations of the human condition were transformative. She has a gift, not only of magic, but also of words. Her prose, poetry, music and aura were bewitching.
“Et Le Lion”
Written and Performed by Elizabeth Seldin
Oct. 31 at 3:30pm
Director: Ethan Paulini
Photo: courtesy of the production
United Solo 2018
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
MEHR GUNAWARDENA is a writer from Sri Lanka who pursued her education and ambition in the United States. During her time at Clark University, she began experimenting with form and structure to make her writing as accessible as possible to all readers, while keeping true to her voice. She enjoys writing poetry and other fictional pieces with political and societal nuances, and is therefore drawn towards art with similar intentions.