By Victoria Dammer
Faith Salie has a resume with a litany of titles describing her first 50 years on this earth—journalist, writer, comedian, actor, Harvard graduate, Rhodes scholar, television and radio host, wife, and mother.
This talented, and one could say overachiever, has pulled together poignant and cheerful snippets of her life’s experiences based on her book, “Approval Junkie: Adventures in Caring Too Much,” to make her Off-Broadway debut in a one-woman show. The story isn’t just about caring too much. It’s about caring what other people think, and finding the solution to happiness is about loving yourself and fulfilling your expectations.
Be prepared to laugh, cry and hang on to her every word; her stories hit close to home, and the reaction from the packed Minetta Lane Theatre audience was overwhelming as she exposed raw emotions of her life.
Just as extensive as Salie’s resume is the list of subjects she shares with the audience. Align yourself to her anxiety, trying to keep up her G.P.A. to appease her parents. Laugh as she exchanges her tips on winning her high school beauty pageant, demonstrating the appropriate arm positions for success on stage.
Feel Salie’s desperation of failure, a woman who had the perfect wedding in the perfect dress in Scotland, only to live with a husband for a few short years whose love was unwinnable. Be prepared to cry, and relate to the story about picking out the perfect outfit to wear to her divorce, only to look over at the bench where her “wasband” is sitting and won’t return her gaze.
Very few subjects are off the table in Salie’s 90-minute monologue. She delves into her infertility and rounds of IVF, expressing her grief after these procedures resulted in the death of two fetuses, not children. She shares the unfathomable joy of becoming a mother, after the age of 40, with her second husband and the more profound pleasure of having another child.
Salie had no fear expressing her pain over the loss of her mother, and audience members could identify with the void it left in her life, as death does to all of us.
Don’t sit in the audience as just an observer of Salie’s life story. Instead, embrace the many similar qualities she shares and see a small glimmer of some of them we have as well.
Approval Junkie: Written and performed by Faith Salie and directed by Amanda Watkins. Scenic design by Jack Magaw, costume design by Ivan Ingermann, lighting design by Amanda Zieve, sound design by Brandon Bush, and projection design by Alex Basco Koch. The production stage manager is Justin Scribner.
Technical supervision by Hudson Theatrical Associates and general management by Baseline Theatrical (Andy Jones and Jonathon Whitton). Photo credits by Daniel Radar.
Approval Junkie began performances at The Minetta Lane Theatre on November 16 and will run for four weeks only through Sunday, December 12. Tickets are on sale now at www.Audible.com/MinettaLane.
Running time is 90 minutes without intermission.