Dallas — Fiddle-de-dee, what is Scarlett O’Hara up to now? Scurrying around in her hoop skirt; her arms, hands and fingers gracefully—choreographically, even—flailing about. She’s fraught about Big Issues, which, to Scarlett O’Hara, is every issue that she cares about. What? You say you have concerns too? Don’t worry about those, because this is Scarlett O’Hara’s time in the spotlight. You make sure the light hits her just so, m’kay?
This time, the Southern belle to best all Southern belles is portrayed through the mind of Brigham Mosley in his show Scarlett O’Hara and the War on Tara, which closes Audacity Theatre Lab’s third annual Dallas Solo Fest at the Margo Jones Theatre on Sunday.
Mosley, who has returned as a resident of our fair city—Dallas, not Atlanta—had one of the standout performances at last year’s Dallas Solo Fest with his autobiographical and thoughtfully crafted Mo[u]rnin’ After. If that’s the only work of his you’ve seen, and thought you had his performative style figured out, well, don’t be a silly little fool. That piece was rooted in memoir, using the musical Oklahoma! as a vehicle to be honest with his grandfather in the state directly to the north of Texas. It had theatrical flair, but nothing compared to Miss Scarlett.
This time Mosley has help from one of the 20th century’s most memorable fictional characters.
Wearing just a hoop skirt and black patent leather heels, flaunting a shawl that he might drape around his bare torso or on a dress form that represents Scarlett’s confidant Mammy, Mosley enters the stage fiercely and rarely breaks from some kind of movement—crossing the stage, twirling, talking on a tin can phone or admiring himself in a mirror. (The press photos show him wearing a bandana like Mammy did, but he didn't do that at the Dallas performance.)
What’s she going on about? Why, art, of course. Or rather, Art. With a capital A. Ashley Wilkes might be having fundraisers for polio and other afflictions, but Scarlett is certain that the rogue Rhett Butler cares about the things Scarlett cares about. He’s not like most people, who want to judge her because she is who she is—the prettiest girl at all the balls.
And if he does, well, tomorrow is another day.
For the audience, the metaphors in The War on Tara are Rorschach material. Mosley seems to be both celebrating and critiquing folks—Artists? Activists?—in a culture so self-obsessed that it can’t see the burning city for the mansions.
With any solo show the audience’s attention is on the sole performer, obviously. But in this one, there’s simply no taking your eyes off of Mosley, who is never less than captivating. At one moment when he pours liquor from a carafe, he informs us that it represents time passing. At the opening performance, when his Georgia accent briefly veered into New Yawk territory, he took note—in character. Scarlett truly is a citizen of the world!
Even the lip synch to the entirety of Dolly Parton’s “Will He Be Waiting for Me” from her excellent 1999 bluegrass album The Grass is Blue doesn’t wear thin.
This Tara Alert is of the highest level: Scarlett.
» Scarlett O'Hara and the War on Tara continues with the following performances:
- 7pm | Sunday, June 12
» Our interview with Brigham Mosley
» Click here to see our listing for Scarlett O'Hara and the War on Tara
» To see a full schedule of shows, go here
» See our DSF special section for more interviews, reviews and more