I am Sophie.
Reviewed by Julia Stier
“I like me so much better in French,” declares a wide-eyed, charismatic Sophie (Corrine Shor), her thick French accent lilting and flirtatious. Sophie, who has returned home from Paris to care for her ailing father in Minneapolis, is seeing her family for the first time since moving to France. And they’re not taking it well. Because, well, Sophie was born Kate – plain-Jane, American Kate. So who is this woman with this strange, beautiful accent? Who is Sophie?
I am Sophie, written and performed by Corinne Shor and directed by Susan Angelo, is a story of self-discovery. This one-woman show is an illuminating peek into the mind of someone struggling with identity. When Francophile Kate/Sophie decides that she likes her French persona better, she finds that her biggest obstacle isn’t maintaining the transition into this new person — it’s rather getting the ones she loves to accept it.
Shor is enthralling from beginning to end. From her first bubbly “Bonjour!” to her devastating breakdown, she pulls you into her story completely. Moments of heartache are balanced with ones of beauty, and while her tale can get dark, she keeps it from devolving into one of despair.
The script is brilliantly structured so that the audience is included in the narrative. Shor affectionately refers to audience members as “mes confidents,” and shares her journey with us. This relationship saves the show from the awkward trap some solo shows fall into, where the actor must “converse” with an imaginary character.
An imaginative take on the hot topic of identity, I am Sophie. shares a message of acceptance — both of ourselves and of others. It serves as a reminder that we are in control of our identities and our lives, and that we should all be free to live this life as we choose.