Did you ever play dress-up when you were young? The characters we create as children are absurd but innocent, seldom venturing out into the real world. In Soledad Ensemble’s HERE AT HOME, audiences meet one of these dress-up caricatures as if she had continued her life, traveling around since you had stopped playing pretend. Princess Mildred, played here by the bubbly and spritely Marisol Rosa-Shapiro, thrives on that kind of unbridled imagination. HERE AT HOME, a performance in which children’s theater evolves for an urban grown-up audience, demands the audience to revert back to the Princess’s childlike state of play. The blank room in Central Tattoo Studio has no character in and of itself—until Princess Mildred walks back and forth outside on the street and finally enters. Giggling constantly and squeaking throughout with a cartoonish voice, Mildred eagerly awaits the arrival of her prince. Her playing space extends into the street, so that Princess Mildred can run outside to dispose of imaginary objects and squeal at passersby.
It may sound as if HERE AT HOME is juvenile and overly saccharine, but Rosa-Shapiro’s excellent comedic timing and honesty saves it from meandering into la-la land. Her giddiness dissolves into pain and heartbreak as the fantasy of her prince dissolves. Rosa-Shapiro has created a story time theater piece for a more world-weary audience. [Central Tattoo Studio, 171 W. Girard Avenue] September 7–19, 2015, fringearts.com/here-at-home.