A good friend of mine recently moved from New York to Los Angeles. She's been here for weeks, and her belongings have yet to show up. And the moving company, when she can get it on the phone, can only assure her that, since "the truck is not in the warehouse" it must be somewhere in the continental United States. I didn't think moving could get much more traumatic. The Move proved me wrong. This one-woman show, set in the hell of packing, is frequently touching and funny. Alas, it is also overly anecdotal (one-person shows always run this risk), which results in a lagging pace.
Written and performed by Dani Klein, and directed by Don Boughton, this production offers one woman's meditations on love and commitment as she packs up her New York apartment to move in with her fiancé. As anyone who has ever moved will understand, various objects bring back memories, which spark stories. In this case, there are lots of stories, from Klein's childhood (school traumas, her stoner sister) to her teenage years (being called fat by callous Israeli soldiers) and her tenure as a swinging single/struggling actor in New York. This is all set against a backdrop of extreme anxiety over her impending marriage.
Klein's script is solid (if somewhat influenced by TV timing and character resolutions), with equal doses of biting and somber insights about the transition to married life. The script and the show are frustratingly brought down a bit by some plodding clichés—specifically the fear of becoming a homemaker and the Single Woman Expressing Neuroses by Eating Junk Food Coyly routine. If you go by what you see in one-woman shows and the movies, every single woman in America should be 900 pounds and toothless.
The show gets through these bumps thanks largely to Klein's acting and her just plain charm. She is a funny, likeable performer, the kind of person you'd long to sit next to at a boring dinner party. She is also game and energetic, even if she does tend to rely a bit much on mimicry—and puppets, which at first seem like a poignant remnant of a lonely childhood and toward the end feel just a little repetitive.
The uncredited set design is a very convincing rip-off New York apartment. It even effectively conjures sweltering heat and cockroaches.
"The Move," presented by and at Stages Theatre Center, 1540 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood. Tues.-Wed. 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21-Oct. 3. $15. (323) 465-1010.