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Someone’s Somebody

Sacramento Theatre Company

1419 H St.
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 446-7501

Rated 4.0

The autobiographical solo show has become a specialty on Sacramento stages. And we’ve seen some good ones, drawing on the author-performers’ personal talents—comedian Jack Gallagher’s three autobiographical shows at the B Street Theatre and Aviva Jane Carlin’s delightfully unconventional Jodie’s Body being high watermarks.

Someone’s Somebody, Regina Louise’s original show at the Sacramento Theatre Company, is at once similar and different. Louise describes her life in California’s foster-care system, which shuttled her through dozens of “homes.”

It’s a harrowing personal journey, told over 90 minutes without intermission, in which Louise is repeatedly thrust into situations where she’s under the authority of people who don’t have her interests at heart. Several people flat out use her, financially or sexually. Her lengthy stay in a mental facility where she’s overmedicated is scary. The longing for a caring parent is palpable, and the joy when she finally connects with someone who wants to be her mother is a genuine thrill.

Someone’s Somebody is performance as confessional exposé and rallying cry. It’s kind of like the way Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist spun relevant fiction out of the English orphanage/workhouse system in the 1830s. But Louise does it from a first-person, contemporary, African-American, feminine perspective.

Director Peggy Shannon provides a connecting motif through different pairs of shoes—the sneakers Louise loved as a kid, the ballet shoes she wanted after seeing The Nutcracker, the impossibly high heels she teetered on as a young woman, and more.

Louise is not a veteran actress, but she presents herself (as herself) well on stage, mixing vulnerability and toughness. And she’s working in a bigger space than Gallagher or Carlin did locally, on a proscenium stage that puts her at greater distance from her audience.

Louise isn’t as convincing when she plays the foster parents, social workers and others she meets. Of course, these people seldom stay in her life, giving them even less traction as characters.

But really, this is a show in which you don’t want to make distinctions between Louise and her material. Someone’s Somebody works because the performer and her story are fused together. It’s her saga, more than it’s a show.