Reviews for MetaFam
Reviewed by Neal Weaver
Flight Theatre at The Complex
Through June 25
Writer-dancer-actress Deana Barone is an exceptionally engaging performer, and her work stands out amid the bewildering profusion of solo plays at the Fringe. She looks with rueful optimism at the process of growing up Jewish in a family that was both a burden and a blessing. And she introduces us to a number of characters, including herself as a child; her aging and conservative father, who’s a follower of Milton Friedman and who urged her not to take dance classes on the grounds that all artists are immoral; her slightly vain and frivolous mother; her sister Shoshana who suffers from mercury poisoning; and her distant brother Sid who’s facing the onset of Parkinson’s disease. (She apparently did not take her father’ advice about dance classes: she interlards her performance with brief dance interludes.) There’s plenty of comedy in her account, but she also addresses some darker issues.
Barone has enough self-confidence to remain open-ended and experimental even in performance, and what she loses in terms of structure, she gains in spontaneity and freedom. Her journey toward adulthood involves learning to accept responsibility for herself as well as responsibility for others. She’s an ardent feminist, but she’s blessedly unfanatical about it.
The TellTale Company at The Flight Theatre at the Complex, 6472 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood. http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/3568. Running time: One hour and 5 minutes.
Reviewed by Bob Leggett
Barone tells her story of growing up in a family that included a mentally ill sister, a sick brother, an adorable mother and a guru-like father. These personalities all played a role in her development as an artist, and I believe shaped her to become a guru herself in allowing solo artists to bring their stories to the stage. I just might have to work with her to bring my own story out. But that’s a story for another day.
Barone did a great job of melding those stories into a true Fringe experience. I was especially amazed at her ability to improv real-world issues like late arrivals into the fabric of the show without breaking character as she repeatedly shattered the illusionary fourth wall.
Metafam has one remaining performance on June 25 at 1:45. We recommend you check it out and see for yourself the awesomeness that is Deana Barone.
Deana Barone’s MetaFam tackles a subject we know all too well: Family. Complicated, dysfunctional (at times), broken and beautiful family. Barone reveals herself fully in a compelling story of love and survival. It’s vulnerable, smart, playful, compelling.
A masterful storyteller, Barone fills the room with her powerful presence. Keen on the fine art of audience participation, her blunt style feels initially abrasive. I’m usually cool with participating as long I’m eased into it. I’m shy. Barone, in her own way, did just that. It was always inclusive, always creative and clever. It almost felt like we were in her living room- and she was glad we came.
Barone understands character specificity and authenticity. The way she “put on” the characters was fantastic. The way she played herself at younger, more tender ages was beautiful. Her characterizations of her parents and siblings were far more than impersonations- but carefully crafted characters filled with love and respect. I can only imagine what she discovered about her family by immersing herself so completely in their personas.
I caught glimpses of myself and my own family throughout this play. I learned something about myself. I felt braver. I felt inspired. I left feeling full and satisfied, and not just because I ended up with the bucket of oranges. Now that is a good day at the theatre
Reviewed by Ernest Kearney
Deana Barone is a wonderful actress, and her one woman show offers some insight into the personal history that nurtured that talent. Her show is a touching homage to that furnace in which we all are forged, the family. What comes across the strongest in Barone’s presentation is the tenderness of these people, who are flawed, who bear with suffering, but who are family nonetheless. Within the insanity of that relationship lays the cross all humanity must bear, a cross that is the crux of both our source and sanctuary. Her performance is unadulterated and very large on heart.
Compelling, entertaining characters with beauty & poignancy. Deana is a powerhouse on-stage.TERRIE SILVERMAN, solo artist and storytelling teacher
As a professional solo artist who has toured and directed over a decade and founded my own solo theatre company, I have seen a tremendous amount of 1 person plays…good, bad, ugly, and everything in between. Deana has gorgeous technique, creative transitions, beautifully truthful characters, and an endearing story. Whether you are looking to craft a stellar solo show and want a superb example, or if you are simply looking to partake in a wonderful theatrical experience, I highly recommend MetaFam for your viewing pleasure.
This is a seasoned solo artist with important things to say.
JESSICA LYNN JOHNSON, solo director
I love love love performers who can skillfully improvise off of their audience. Always prepared for a latecomer, a disheveled stage curtain or a pesky prop, Deana Barone proves to be this type of performer. She is masterful at portraying different members of her family, each with their own quirks, innocence, and degrees of belief within the Jewish faith. But the true goods of this show are how we are called as an audience to become one singular unit of solidarity and support for the struggling family members who so need a kind voice on their side. Deana gives and gives all from a bottomless reserve of cosmic energy and out-of-this-world talent.
This is why she is my director and developer of choice, for my own solo show, “Mom? Dad? I Have ADHD (and other ways to let down The Indian Family).”
RASIKA MATHUR, actor (Wild N’ Out), comic, writer, storyteller
Everything! She was spot on with the characters. She morphed from one to the next with ease. We all fell in love with them and her. So funny and sad and smart. I loved her work with the crowd. She was just a real natural and you could tell everyone was having a great time. She touched on some really serious topics and dramatic moments but also kept it fun. Beautiful work. And it flew by. Divine! You couldn’t not enjoy it.CLAIRE TITELMAN, comic (Chelsea Lately), actress, writer
I liked the atmosphere. The Acting. It was perfect. Deana Barone is an accomplished story teller and actor. That is a given, but what she has achieved here is nothing short of brilliant. We are knee deep in dysfunctional families, but her portrayal of hers rises up and takes you by surprise. From the moment we first see her as a young girl dancing for her father, she is captivating and we are the captured. Her characterizations take us into the hearts of her family. This is an amazing piece of theatre. Please go and see it.NICK ULLETT, actor, director
Revelatory! Storyteller Deana Barone is wonderfully observant, quirky and intuitive – and her play uplifts your spirits and also breaks your heart as she explores the indelible stamp that her unique family bequeathed her for better or worse! Deana transforms into her family members and then transcends the lessons they imparted – even as her own talent soars before your eyes. Must See! Deana moves seamlessly across the stage and sails skillfully through poignant portraits of her life! Deana dances right into your heart!ERIC VOLLMER, producer, Public Works
I was blown away!!! So engaging, so moving, so funny, just wow!! GO see!NANCY MURPHY, award winning solo artist
Deana brings brave exploration and childlike wonder and charm. She’s utterly captivating. She inhabits her characters fully and easily, bringing to life her unique family. Her experiments with breaking the 4th wall pay off – her show is engaging, warm and funny, and very moving. Deana is a gem!JONNA TAMASES, award winning solo artist
Deana is comfortable and adept onstage, and we, as audience members, feel good in her hands. Her characters are adorable and endearing, and the show was a lovely, deep way to spend an hour. A great way to spend an hour watching one of our Los Angeles story tellers at work. Funny thing is, this work seems like play and that’s a good thing ! Go!ABBY SCHACHNER, award winning solo artist
Deana Barone doesn’t perform as much as exist on stage. She acknowledges the audience at the very top and develops a wonderful rapport with them from start to finish. Her characters are charming, well-defined and brimming with heart. I particularly loved a scene with Deana and her sister having a picnic. She demonstrated such compassion and lightheartedness in the face of very serious circumstances. The oranges were delicious. I really connected to the character of the mother.
Metafam is a wonderful meditation on what it means to be part of a family, how to inhabit your own life in the midst of loved ones’ suffering, and how to also bring empathy and humor to the impossible task of caring for others. Deana Barone gives the ultimate storytelling advice in her program—communicate, make mistakes, and have fun and she does all three with gusto.
MEGAN DOLAN. award winning solo artist
Deana is an accomplished performer, able to morph into characters seamlessly. Her vulnerability and heart shines through in each moment.
This is a moving, funny, charming, and revealing look into a family doing their best with each other. Quirky, endearing, funny, and at times heart breaking. Brava!
SARAH TAYLOR, award winning comedienne/ performance artist
Deana Barone is an extremely talented and heartfelt performer. It’s a joy watching her work.BEOWULF JONES, Producer of Risk, storytelling show
Deana is, as ever, a treat to watch. And with some audience participation and some metaphysics, she has pulled off a this-is-my-family show that rises above this-is-my-family shows. If you want to have an actor play with your eyes, ears and heart by transforming into other people, and play with the mystical side of your brain as well, go see Deana’s show. If you don’t want those things, go anyway.PHIL WARD, actor, musician, director
Great show. It’s less performance than Deana channeling her family on stage. I enjoy the way she’s able to bring the audience into the show, at one point even having a member of the audience join her on stage for a conversation with her mother. A remarkable performance, Deana shines on stage.
A truly great show. Deana introduces you to her family over the course of the hour. She transforms herself, first through voice and body, to create a scene with all of her family, then uses costumes to highlight each family member in a scene. A really unique look into the people and beliefs that live inside the performer. Don’t forget to pipe up! The audience is part of the show, too.
MATTHEW RIGDON, award winning actor, writer
OMGoodness. Where do I start. I was absolutely enthralled from the moment I sat down until the moment I left. Deana has a beautiful way of capturing and holding your attention like it’s a secret. She’s a brilliant writer and performer. Bravo!!! I had to stop myself from crying; so as not to tire myself out before the end of her performance. She captured her family’s idiosyncrasies so well. I fell in love with her mother. She’s magnificent and her show is a MUST See and her story is a MUST Experience.FEE KING, solo performer
Deana is so captivating, engaging, and really involves the audience in a warm, inviting manner. I love her use of dance and how she broke the fourth wall – but also just toyed with the fourth wall. The stories were heartfelt, funny, honest, and it really felt like I was getting perspectives FROM her family members at times, rather than just from Deana’s perspective of them – very hard to do and she did it wonderfully. Also, her story-telling skills are AMAZING.
A fantastic show – heartfelt, honest, funny, and different than any show I’ve seen before!
SUSAN JOSEPHS, freelance writer, LA Times
Deana Barone is a truly talented performer who has done a wonderful job in bringing her family to life in this funny and poignant show. I enjoyed my experience in the theater with her!MICHAELA MYERS, award winning solo artist
Deana does some amazing character work playing members of her family, along with some fun audience interaction and more fourth-wall breaking than Deadpool. She’s great at both comedy and genuine emotion. Meta Fam is a grand slam! From the moment the stage lights come up, you know you’re in the hands of a master solo performer. Funny, moving, and inspiring.BRANDON BURKHART, comic, storyteller
Loved her use of the audience. Loved her transitions in and out of characters. Loved her embodiment of her characters. Loved use of “go jump in the lake” and finding her salvation there. Loved the go our. Loved her writing.
Deana is utterly charming and sincere as she plays the roles of various family members and takes you on a journey through the landscape of their lives, and her quest to find herself amid a torrent of other people’s ideals and issues. She endears us to each family member with her expert performance. Thoroughly touching and enjoyable. It’s like experiencing a good novel.
JANET CHAMBERLAIN, actor
Charming, moving, generous and so engaging. Delightful to watch and be a part of. A beautifully honest show with some wonderful characters.LAUREN SHEIN, actress, director
Deana Barone is a storyteller at heart & witnessing her in this show solidifies that. Her seamless transitions from character to character are flawless & lovely to watch take place right in front of you. Her eyes tell it all & you can’t take yours off of her. A total delight. A beautiful performance by a true performer. Go See It!TANIA VERAFIELD, actor
Deana is a brave and compelling story teller. Her commitment to truth is inspiring. The play is totally relatable to anyone who has ever had a dysfunctional family, and she sheds light on that topic in a beautiful, positive, unique way.
A beautiful piece of true, heartfelt work.
HALLIE COOPER, director, actor
Deana is a great performer and creates colorful, believable characters with just a slight change of movement or vocal inflection.
A fun, moving solo performance rooted in profound love.
MEAGAN DAINE, award winning playwright