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The Body Washer
by Rosemary Frisino Toohey

Reviewed by James Howard on BroadwayWorld.com
(copyright 2007 - BroadwayWorld.com)

(The Body Washer was one of ten short plays staged in May 2007 by The Run of the Mill Theater at the Theater Project in Baltimore under the title Variations on Justice. This page includes only the part of the review focusing on The Body Washer.)

The Body Washer, by Rosemary Frisino Toohey and directed by Dwight R.B. Cook is a stunning piece. It concerns three women of completely polar existences brought together by the death of a young Iraqi woman, killed at a checkpoint.

Cook has directed the piece with a visually stunning, almost documentary feel, making the highly emotional ending all the more intense. His cast, though, is uniformly superb. Holly Gibbs is the reporter trying to come to grips with the human emotion she feels when she should have a reporter's objectivity. She is subtle and intense all at once, making her inner turmoil all the more palpable. Tekee Wilkes is the National Guardsman reluctantly in the war because she signed up for college tuition, and finds herself at the wrong end of a rifle. Her anger and ache at remembering home, coupled with her staunch military code offer a realistic look at the inner fight our soldiers must be feeling. Stacey A. Matthews gives the performance of the evening as an Iraqi woman whose job it is to wash the bodies of the dead before burial. Like the reporter, she describes her job with an observer's detachment, while all of the profound sorrow bubbles underneath.

Justice? Yes, if you are willing to consider the lack of it in this situation. Successful? This play needs to be published. It is that good.

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