Dallas — Brit-born Austinite Maggie Gallant has had her entire identity ripped out from under her, not once, but twice. It’s hard to imagine that, let alone laugh about it, but that’s exactly what she does in her one-woman show, Liberté, Egalité, Adoptée, at the Dallas Solo Fest.
As a young girl in the 1970s, Gallant’s world is changed when an offhand comment from her mother turns into a sleuthing effort that uncovers a truth she wasn’t quite prepared for—her adoption, her real name, and her French father. That kernel of knowledge blooms into a lifelong self-identity that makes perfect sense to Gallant. For a girl who never felt like she quite fit in with her family, finding out about her supposed French heritage is almost a relief.
Gallant is incredibly engaging and energetic as she recounts her crazy-but-true adventures in locating her birth mother, becoming a “successful business executive” just like her French papa, and finding out that her life, family, and ancestry aren’t quite what she expects.
The tales are interspersed with stories that have the audience in stitches, such as a hilariously physical recounting of the red wool bathing suit her thrifty, war-era mother knitted for a trip to the beach. Her humor is natural and easy, tinged with the right amount of affection that adds to the heart of her journey.
The staging of Adoptée is smart, with real-life props like Gallant’s battered briefcase (a gift from her father at age 11) and projected images that help track the audience through her timeline and see the details on some of the props, like the letters from her mother’s files.
Gallant’s struggle to fully mesh with her family is recognizable even for those who aren’t adopted—who hasn’t looked at members of their family and wondered how they could possibly be related? Her work perfectly captures the struggle to make sense of one’s own identity, both inside and outside the family structure, while dodging the curveballs of unexpected discovery and newfound appreciation for both the past, the present, and the future.
» Liberté, Egalité, Adoptée continues with the following performances.
- 5:30pm | Sunday, June 5
- 10:30pm | Saturday, June 11
» Click here to see our listing for Liberté, Egalité, Adoptée
» Read our interview with Maggie Gallant
» To see a full schedule of shows, go here
» See our DSF special section for more interviews, reviews and more