Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Lauren Weedman’s Shadow Selves

The veteran solo performer contrasts glitzy, ditzy country girl "Tami" with sardonic comic Lauren to sneak up on a sad, true story from (at least) two sides.

Tami Lisa is the fictitious host of a country-twanged, retro-era variety show embellished with dancers, tinsel curtains, cheesy jokes and a mouthy house band. Tami Lisa can both laugh with, and be laughed at by, her guests and her audience. And Tami Lisa’s imaginary husband is leaving her for their pretend babysitter.

Meanwhile, Lauren Weedman is a self-deprecating solo theater performer, neurotically processing some of the things she’s been through by spouting them out loud. And what’s she been through? Well, among other things, the real Lauren Weedman’s real husband has left her for their real babysitter.

Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore—surely a reference to the song Love Don’t Live Here Anymore?—is filling the PCS mainstage with a melange of music, monologue, and character impression that switches between first-person confessions from Weedman and kooky meta-onstage antics by her blown-out alter-ego Tami, who “interacts” with show guests by quick-switching her voice and posture to play both them and herself in conversation. As Tami Lisa’s husband Roman, she straddles the stage in a Captain Morgan pose, tucks in her neck and affects a Johnny Cash baritone. As Lucinda Williams, she does a husky whisper and a raw singing voice, juxtaposing that directly with a light, silly Tami Lisa on the uke for a whiplash-inducing “duet” of Sweet Side. As Wynona Judd, she puts on a cockeyed expression and rants menacingly about taking romantic revenge. As “Cornbread,” the guitarist from Tami’s band, she challenges Tami’s self-reliance, and as Tami she snaps back, “I can be alone!”

The world of Tami Lisa, unveiled. Photo: Patrick Weishampel/blankeye

If all of that sounds hard to follow, it’s not when you see it in action. “Tami Lisa,” Weedman explains, was the name she was given by her birth parents before being adopted, and hence has become a vibrant figure in her imagination of an alternate self who’d been raised by those parents. The other characters range from Weedman’s real music idols to fictitious tropes of a country/variety environment. To support Lauren/Tami transitions visually, the stage frequently quick-switches, unfurling tinsel curtains to complement Tami’s shallow sparkle, then snapping them back to reveal both the set’s and Weedman’s stark, shadowy depths. A big vanity-lit “Tami Lisa” sign lights up when “the show” is on, and darkens but remains onstage when Tami is on set but we’re to understand she’s not shooting. It disappears when it’s time to hear from just Weedman, perched on a black stool spilling home truths.

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