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You Can't Get There from Here 

Wednesday, Sep 23 2009
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Critically acclaimed writer and performer Anne Galjour was commissioned by the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College to explore the difficult issues of class divide in a theater piece. She conducted countless interviews and held story circles with rural New Englanders to put together this 90-minute monologue. Despite the rich source material, the final product is tepid. Galjour, a seasoned solo performer, slips effortlessly up and down the class ladder, competently portraying characters in a small New Hampshire town where longtime residents find their lifestyles and livelihoods threatened by incoming "professionals." Jobs are lost, homes become overpriced, and locals are reduced to having custodial jobs and living in trailers. It's an important story to tell — the hollow underbelly of the American Dream — but it feels clichéd in this depiction. Composite characters and hackneyed lines such as "Where you live does not determine who you are" and "Where is the fruit of our labor?" undermine the potential power and emotional connection of the subject matter. The topic of gentrification deserves attention, but this subdued production could use some more passion.

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Nathaniel Eaton

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