A Life in Her Day

After seeing this delightful farce, I’m convinced that paper towels are the next duct tape. Wallets and prom dresses are passé compared to what exuberant physical comedienne—or, better, “clown”—Hilary Chaplain can fashion out of a roll of Bounty: wedding veils, bouquets, offspring. The old maxim “necessity is the mother of invention” takes on new meaning in this light, fast-paced sketch as our heroine enacts a passionate affaire de coeur with her bedside lamp (think stoic, upright, taciturn—a bit like Keanu Reeves) after discovering a diamond “engagement” ring in her cereal box. Chaplain piquantly illustrates the tragedy of growing up in her solo comedy about making do with a “pretend” family of common household goods. Her voice work, puppetry, and physical stagecraft are technically irreproachable, yet far from hidebound or stuffy. She wriggles through a reverse striptease (over firehouse red long-johns, no less) recognizable from any high school gym class, the entire time sporting such a painfully exposed expression that vintage vaudevillian Mae West herself would have snorted with laughter. Though not categorically improv, the audience is not spared: one elderly gentleman was press-ganged into making the initial proposal (but was subsequently accused of two-timing when Chaplain noticed his lady companion), and, after realizing her true love had stood by her bedside all along, the happy bride flung her origami wedding bouquet at me (eek! I’m not ready to abandon the joys of being a singleton!). Though Chaplain has performed this show everywhere from her hometown, New York City, to Madrid, I’m sure we saw an unprecedented use of the paper towels when the woman seated next to me laughed so hard that her Americano ended up decorating her pants. Our well-seasoned comedienne didn’t blink before whipping out a handful of her white-sheeted panacea and rushing over. Chaplain will mop up the Moisture Festival as well on April 10, 11, and 12 with scenes from her “Variety Theatre” showcase. JENNA NAND Theatre Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave. S., 800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $11-$15. 8 p.m. Mon., April 14.

Mon., April 14, 8 p.m., 2008