Daring young pianist; 'Talking With'; exultant 'Missa Gaia'; Folk tales of odd women?
Here are some odd ladies. Let's see what makes them tick. That's the feeling one starts out with in ''Talking With,'' 11 solo pieces for women at the Charlestown Working Theater.
These are modern folk tales of slightly different women, all of whom have an abundance of courage, humor, and dignity. From the ex-rodeo rider who bemoans the commercialization of her field, to the reluctant snake handler who continues her work because her family depends upon her, they are poetic eccentrics who recall both Isaac Bashevis Singer and Tennessee Williams.
And there isn't an ounce of pity, pomposity, or polemics in it. These characters are refreshingly far from stereotypes. There are, however, so few representations of ''normal'' women that one wonders if the playwright(s) - I'll get back to that - couldn't be bothered to find what was special in an ordinary woman's life. But as a look at intriguing ''forgotten'' women, it is a fine piece of work. Time and time again, one starts out askance at the bizarreness of the characters, only to be won over by each one's logic and poetry.
Director Laurie Zallen has drawn some very strong performances from her group of actresses. Jean Anderson is riveting as an actress putting on her makeup and wondering who the audience is. Lisa Foley, as a woman describing the last days of her exceptional mother, is also quite good.
Back to the playwright(s). Credit is given to Jane Martin, who seems to be a mystery figure. Several around the theater speculate that Miss Martin is really a collective of women, or even a man. At any rate, ''Talking With'' is an engaging evening of unique women, the likes of which are not often found. Ends Sat.