A NoHo Arts theater review of “Being Richard Greene,” written and performed by Lynne Jassem, and directed by Wendy Hammers at Whitefire Theater’s Solofeest 2022.
In “Being Richard Greene,” we follow the brilliant Lynne Ramsey as she navigates her life from toddler to present day, with the fabulous use of her quite fantastic tap dancing. As her story unfolds, she tries to find herself as a girl as a boy as a man as a woman and as lesbian and finally, it seems, as a human being. What a journey! From her earliest memories growing up in Queens, knowing she was different as a small child, innocently wishing she was a boy, resenting the stereotypical boxes we are all expected to remain in, fighting back, quite literally sometimes, trying to understand how to be herself as she wished for a penis of her own.
The title “Being Richard Greene” is a nod to the days when she would call up girls from school and tell them she was Richard Greene and ask if they would they like to see a movie. This wasn’t a very successful manoeuvre given that when they showed up, it was Lynne they met. But for her it was a beginning, a way forward in understanding herself, her nature, and her own desires. It also makes a very funny story, especially told with Lynne’s indomitable style and wonderful comedic charm.
Lynne takes us through pivotal moments in her life with all the skill of a seasoned entertainer. She is a powerhouse of energy and absolutely hilarious anecdotes, never shying away from the truth of anything.
Regaling us with her struggles with alcohol and her families acceptance of who she was, she never hates. Choosing instead to understand, to love, to gently yet firmly remain who she was born to be. She’s really a revelation. Now in her 70s, she has truly lived through the arch of acceptance and equality for anyone non-straight and she seems to like herself, and she is still with the woman she fell in love with 20 years ago.
And adore Lynne Jassem. Her fire, her story, her unambiguous untamed spirit. She is a wonderful storyteller, placing every piece of the pie of her life in exactly the right place, teasing us with more and more of her tales right up until the end.
Lynne was a professional dancer for many many years, and as she literally taps from moment to moment she paints a vivid and beautiful picture of a life well lived. Bravo!
You can still watch Lynne’s “Being Richard Greene” on the Whitefire Theater’s Vimeo channel for a few more weeks and if you love richly drawn and hilarious stories of the gorgeously flawed and easily loved, then you absolutely should !!