Review On TOSHANISHA - The New Normals

Shari Barrett

Registered Critic, Writer, Publicist

The style of this live performance from Kenya, half a world away and the largest economy in East Africa prior to the pandemic, reminded me of "The Art of Facing Fear" in that listening to the actors talk about how their lives have changed during the pandemic, especially how it closed down theatre, which certainly made me feel at one with with them. I too have experienced longing to be with my friends, having fun, being able to get together without wearing masks, and not worrying that no matter how safe I am trying to be that fear will keep me isolated from in person human interaction. This show definitely promotes the premise that "we are the world" and "we are all one."

I especially enjoyed the scene in which each actor showed a photo from what their social life was like before having to stay away from their friends and family, which is probably the most difficult part of having to life isolated from the company of others. And the scene addressing sexual assault on teenage girls, complete with emotional reactions written across the actresses' bodies, was another way this play united me with them in their life experiences.

It's difficult to talk fairly about technical improvements, especially since streaming live from half way around the world was an amazing feat in itself!

Shari Barrett, a Los Angeles native, has been active in the theater world since the age of six - acting, singing, and dancing her way across the boards all over town. After teaching in local secondary schools, working in marketing for several studios, writing, directing, producing, and performing in productions for several non-profit theaters, Shari now dedicates her time and focuses her skills as an independent publicist to "get the word out" about smaller theaters throughout the Los Angeles area.

As a founding member of the LA Stage Alliance Leadership Council Task Force, she and reps from theaters throughout the city worked together to articulate a vision for the theatre community of Greater Los Angeles.

Shari has received recognition from the City of Los Angeles for her dedication of heart and hand to the needs of friends, neighbors and fellow members of society for her devotion of service to the people of Los Angeles, and is honored to serve the theatre world in her hometown.

Currently she is the Publicist and a member of the Kentwood Players at the Westchester Playhouse.