Written by Alina Mae Wilson
South Coast Repertory is currently putting on a comedy based on the memoirs of leading actress Sandra Tsing Loh. Titled The Madwoman in the Volvo, her story is actually many stories. Sandra stands center stage and chats us up about everything: her mother, vacationing at Burning Man, and her affair with her best friend. Helping her to bring these stories to life are actresses Caroline Aaron and Shannon Holt, each stepping in at varying times to play different people in Sandra’s life. Simplistically speaking, the focal point of the show is menopause–how it impacts women, how it impacted women in Sandra’s life, and how it impacted Sandra herself. Packed to the brim with both science and a smattering of humor, The Madwoman in the Volvo is best enjoyed by people in its targeted demographic–that is 45 to 60 year olds.
Sandra Tsing Loh begins the show amiably. She chats with her friends about things you might expect women to chat about, “Sorry I was late, it took forever to find this place, I have to get up early for work tomorrow,” etcetera, etcetera. These two friends are introduced to us as the actresses who are going to be helping Sandra regale us with her adventures after she reached the age of “almost 50,” as well as things that took place earlier –like Sandra’s mother’s serious bouts of depression. We are treated to a story of Sandra’s new growth as a woman that is both comedic and dramatic. Continue Reading