How many great nieces can so beautifully pay homage to their great aunt’s incredibly rich life?
One of the many amazing aspects of the performance of Libby Skala is that she has rekindled the spirit of Elizabeth Polk (her great aunt Lisl) to the point of reliving her life in this bittersweet memoir of words with dance. The use of dance is an inspired idea here. Libby Skala has the same exuberance and élan and love for life that her great aunt Lisl obviously had. This delicious apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
Aunt Lisl was a famous dance therapist although she preferred to be called a dance teacher. Eunice Kennedy Shriver would have been extremely proud of her as she taught the joy of movement to emotionally, physically and mentally challenged children. It was the love of her life and she had to surmount many problems to reach her goal – including Hitler, a couple of World Wars, a rather strange husband, bad health and a “big shot” sister Lilia Skala – an Oscar nominated (Lilies of the Field) stage and screen star.
But she had many guardian angels helping her along the way. From the moment she was born. And she was clever and determined. A bright girl who could adapt at a moments notice and see the ever so small wedge of light in the doors of opportunity that she managed to squeeze through. It is with these same traits that Libby Skala performs the life of her Aunt Lisl.
With little more than an Austrian accent, a pink shawl, a tambourine, drum and maracas she dances through life with a knowing and mischievous twinkle in her eye and a steely determination to succeed. Emotions flow as beautifully as her movements across the stage at 45 Bleecker Street Theatres – appropriately enough in the basement – where Lisle Polk taught her students much to the chagrin of her older and more famous sister.
Libby Skala has also written the piece from a series of taped interviews and uses the music especially produced by Elizabeth Polk. It’s a fascinating, humorous and touching journey that you will take with them both.
Libby Skala won “Best Solo Performer” for A Time to Dance at the London Fringe Festival. She will undoubtedly be in the running to win the same at this Festival also.
Tickets $15.00 www.FringeNYC.org