Enter, Grapefruit


Enter, Grapefruit by Charisma Jolly

"A well-loved, but forgotten comedian fights to win over the people's hearts and make a name for herself while struggling with illness and her own self doubts. Based on the life of Gilda Radner, founding member of Saturday Night Live." - Jolly

All photos taken by Juan Gamero

"[...] Instead, Jolly – who wrote, directed and stars in the piece, as well as co-designing the set, lights and costume with stage manager Amanda Hernandez – gives the audience Gilda in a kind of comedian's purgatory. That's in keeping with the company's dedication to less straightforward, more absurdist/experimental theater.What Jolly gets so right in "Enter, Grapefruit" are the realities of living with – while knowing you'll die from – a terminal illness. Her Gilda forgets, putting on her tap shoes to entertain us, only to have another grapefruit appear. A piece of her hair falls out; a grapefruit appears. Wanting normalcy, the waiting Gilda gets grapefruits. [...] The closing moments of this half-hour show deliver a graceful ending, one inspired by the way Steve Martin paid tribute to Radner when he was hosting "Saturday Night Live" on the day her death was announced. He shared an old clip of Radner and himself in a Fred Astaire-Cyd Charisse "Dancing in the Dark" parody. That dance combined elegance and goofiness." - Christine Dolen, Artburst Miami

"[...] There are several uncomfortable incidents throughout the roughly 40-minute piece, but Jolly purposely included them in her script. They are meant to depict those times during a performance in which one or more performers experience awkward moments on stage. During such times, the key is to improvise, and Radner does just that during "Enter, Grapefruit." And, to her credit, Jolly makes improvising look easy. The performer, a young woman with long dark hair and shining dark eyes, demonstrates, well, charisma on stage.  [...] While Radner's humor shines through in the play, we also get brief glimpses of her vulnerability. But mostly, we witness a humorous, indomitable individual who loves to entertain and make others happy. Jolly, who also directed the production, performs against the backdrop of a simple set that includes props such as a rack from which to hang clothes and a keyboard. Jolly and Amanda Hernandez handled the simple scenic design, as well as the realistic lighting design and character-appropriate costume design. And Ciara Hannon designed the sound." - Aaron Krause, miamiartzine

"[...] Jolly's play and performance had similar strengths to one another. In a strange pre-opening monologue, Jolly revealed that this whole thing was about the life and sickness of Gilda Radner, more commonly known as Gene Wilder's wife. By way of opening the performance in this way, Jolly poised me to learn something from what was about to transpire. For the following thirty minutes, she tried to emulate Radner's comedic sketches famous from SNL and the mention of an Off-Broadway show she performed. It was in the emotional crux of the piece to learn that Radner had a tumor the size of a grapefruit that ended up taking her life; Jolly wrote physical, large grapefruits into the play, appearing from nowhere. I derived the most meaning from the character Jolly was playing (herself, Radner, who knows?) finding the grapefruits, bringing the cancer into whatever it was she was practicing. It was thought-provoking in a satisfying way. [...] The best parts of this show were the history of the person who was Gilda Radner and the interpretative dance at the end where the silent stage manager, Jolly, and multiple grapefruits danced and wound their way around the minimalist stage. It was weird and cool." - Christopher McDaniel, South Florida Theater Magazine