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Arts and Entertainment

Universal appeal to ‘Bad Dates’
One-woman show touches every emotion
 
Published Thursday, March 8, 2012 7:00 am
by Ryanne Persinger

Independent, divorced, strong, single-mom, smart, 30-something, hopeful and loves shoes.
Kim Watson Brooks as Haley in 'Bad Dates.'
Photo Credit: Austin Caine

Surely there’s at least one quality every woman can identify with.

The description is about the character in a 90-minute, one-woman show called “Bad Dates.”

Actress Kim Watson Brooks plays Haley Walker, who is diving back into the dating scene after a lengthy hiatus. Additionally, she’s moved from Texas to New York City with her daughter in tow.

“She hasn’t been on a date in seven years,” Watson Brooks said. “She is very hopeful. She says that everyone should have hope because when you don’t have hope you don’t have anything and I think that is the fuel that keeps her going.”

The show debuted in 2006 by Collaborative Arts Theatre as its first contemporary production. The 2012 show will play March 14-31 at the Duke Energy Theatre at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St. Tickets are $22 for adults and $17 for students and seniors.
Watson Brooks is believed to be the first African American woman to do the show.

“We’ve never seen it cast with anyone who wasn’t white,” Watson Brooks said. “But she’s still a woman and it makes me feel that maybe here and there and every now and again we get to transcend from boundaries that are there in the first place.”
Regardless of race, women are universal, Watson Brooks said.

“I think all kinds of women – whether it be Asian, Latino, Native American, black, white or any other ethnicity – can understand what it’s like to go on a bad date,” she said. “Some things are universal like fear, hope, desire, loneliness and the hope for a better date.”

Elise Wilkinson, “Bad Date’s” director and executive and artistic director of Collaborative Arts Theatre, said Watson Brooks puts her own spin on the performance.

“Kim is an extremely talented actress who will bring a fresh perspective and energy to the role of Haley,” Wilkinson said. “Audiences will fall in love with her vibrant spirit and personality while being touched by the honest and vulnerability she brings to the stage.”

Watson Brooks, who has also performed in “Blue,” “Gem of the Ocean,” “Intimate Apparel,” and “Yankee Tavern,” admits doing a one-woman show is a challenge.

“The burden of the work is on you,” she said. “You have all of this work to do whether it’s memorizing or understanding the character. It’s all internal.”

And don’t worry, she says. Men are welcome, too.

“Each bad date helps (Haley) to decide how she would like to approach dating,” Watson Brooks added. “It’s a situation where men can come, see the show and they will laugh at the same situations that women laugh at but for different reasons. They may learn something about what women think.”

So, are any good dates to be had in the show? Watson-Brooks says you’ll have to see for yourself.

“I like to think that bad dates end on a happy note,” she said.

The show is appropriate for ages 13 and up. The 7:30 p.m. March 14 performance is pay what you can night with a suggested $10 donation.

For tickets or information, call (704) 372-1000.

On the Net:
www.carolinatix.org
Collaborative Arts Theatre
www.charlotteshakespeare.com

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