One hell of a 'do 

And Her Hair Went With Her
Phoenix Theatre
Directed by Bryan Fonseca
Through May 13

And Her Hair Went With Her is what Rhythms, last weekend’s show at the Phoenix Theatre, wanted to be but wasn’t: It gives insight into the world of women — in this case, black women — through small slice-of-life monologues. And girlfriend, it’s good.

The world premiere of Zina Camblin’s show stars the playwright alongside local actress and Indiana Repertory Theatre regular Milicent Wright. Each has her core character — Wright as the older Jasmine and Camblin as the younger, feminist Angie — but they also take on other characters in the form of patrons of the beauty shop that Jasmine owns and where Angie works.

The transformation is via hair; a black woman’s identity is strongly related to her ’do.

First we get to see the dynamic between Jasmine, who has settled into the way the world is, and Angie, who is much more radical. Intertwined into this experience are the monologues of idiosyncratic clients, such as blond Chrystal, who decided to be white in the third grade due to reading group trauma; Keisha, a BOC (black obsessive compulsive), who believes germs are part of a plan to kill off black people; Debbie, a bright-eyed young actress who can’t pull off South Side Chicago; and more. Obviously, the play is character driven, though it does have a through line in the form of a squabble over Nina Simone concert tickets.

Wright and Camblin work magic together under director Bryan Fonseca. Their rapport on stage as Jasmine and Angie is so believable you could see the two hanging out after the show, and their other characters are completely distinct from one another — and often hysterical.

Additionally, the set is lovely, thanks to set designer James Gross, and transitions in the play are smoothed over by saxophone player David Blickenstaff.

And Her Hair Went With Her continues through May 13 at the Phoenix, 749 N. Park Ave. Call 317-635-PLAY for tickets, $25.

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