By Mehr Gunawardena
In the powerful “Hope,” Hope Salas is an Irish-Mexican divorcée who must come to terms with her mother’s death and their painful relationship. We witness Ms. Salas’ life before and after the loss of her mother, with occasional flashbacks to her mother’s past. We learn about the causes of her mother’s harsh and seemingly irrational behavior, and about the woman who once saved her mother’s life.
This show is also about how we are affected by the people in our lives. Three months after Ms. Salas’ boyfriend told her he didn’t love her, curiously, they got married. Ms. Salas divided the performance into several stages: 4 am Hope, anger, depression, pain, guilt, acceptance, and finally 4 pm Hope. The show left the audience in tears of resolution and awe.
Ms. Salas gave a purposefully manic and unstable performance, delicately traced with dark humor. Her story was deep, personal and relatable. It was intense and haunting, touching upon many difficult topics in a raw and realistic manner. We saw how sexual abuse, alcoholism, addiction, and the desire to escape affected her mind and that of her mother. The performance was uncannily presented as the calm before the storm, which we saw explode and resolve.
This edgy and unhinged performance was so dynamic, I couldn’t take my eyes off Ms. Salas. She effectively shifted between characters, committing to various personas. Her timing was impeccably precise, especially important because many lighting, video, and audio cues depended on a specific line or gesture. These moments made the performance surreal, ripping off the curtain of Ms. Salas’ life and her struggle to be who she really was, not who she was expected to be.
“Hope” is a dark exploration of a woman’s mind as she grieves her mother and all they had experienced, and accepts their shared humanity. It is a breathtaking piece of art.
Written and Performed by Hope Salas
Sept. 22 through Oct. 13, 2018 at 8pm
Directed by Erika Latta
Set and Costumes: Marsha Ginsberg
Lighting: Yuki Nakase
Sound Design: Yiannis Christofides
Video Design: Gil Sperling
Dramaturg: Edwin Sanchez
Technical Director: Alex Gurevich
Photos by Pascal Perich, courtesy of the production
The Wild Project
195 E. 3rd Street b/w Aves A. & B.
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.