By Dana Zhang
Someone once told the 13‑year‑old Bo‑nita that if you have your own rhythm, no matter how scared you are, as long as you get back to your own rhythm, you’ll be okay. Once Terri Weagant gets her rhythm going in “Bo‑nita,” you are sucked into her world.
Bo‑nita tells us about a wild day during which she found her ex‑stepfather dead. Ms. Weagant also takes on the roles of Bo‑nita’s mother, ex‑stepfather, and four other characters. Her performance of each character is so distinct that seeing her switch between them is like watching magic in action. Ms. Weagant demonstrates a mesmerizingly deep understanding of her characters, down to their body language and physical tics.
Ms. Weagant makes the characters feel realistic and personable, as though you could meet them right outside, walking down the street. Their motivations ‑ and how they slot into the story ‑ are revealed in an organic narrative that switches between the present and the past.
In a roller coaster ride of events, the charming and funny Bo‑nita elicits delight even as she tells a harrowing childhood story. She makes silly expressions and vaguely mean‑spirited jokes. She is alternately hilarious and heart‑wrenching. This play discusses poverty, single motherhood, role models, immigrants, and coping methods, all told through the lens of a child. Be prepared to face the ugliness and the beauty of humanity. Each character is brought low, but fights to make a life for themselves.
The heavy subject matter doesn’t cramp the style of “Bo‑nita.” It is an unforgettable celebration of its characters being unapologetically themselves and following their own rhythm.
Performed by Terri Weagant
Written by Elizabeth Heffron
Produced and co-Directed by Summer Dawn Wallace
co-Directed by Kirstin Franklin
November 9 at 4 PM
Photo: courtesy of the production
2019 United Solo Theater Festival
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
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DANA ZHANG is a multimedia journalist versed in editorial, photography, and video editing. She writes about pop culture, the performing arts industry, and the human experience. Zhang graduated from New York University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned at Newsweek Media for a year while in university. Zhang is also an avid gamer and dancer.