Jenni Wolfson is not much of an actress. She doesnt project loudly, nor does her delivery sparkle. The way she moves around the stage is slightly awkward, and the staging of her one-woman show, Rash, involves little more than standing, sitting, knitting and talking.
Jenni Wolfson is, however, a tremendous journalist (whether she considers herself one or not) with an amazing and well-written story to tell.
Rash is Wolfsons biographical retelling of her experience as a U.N. employee in post-genocide Rwanda. In great detail, she recounts her work in the prisons, her visits to fields full of decomposing bodies and, much to the delight of the viewers, even her love-life with a local. Just when you think the stories are so horrific they cant be true, she has slides to prove she was there.
The success of Rash comes not only from the naturally dramatic and socially important stories themselves, but from how real Wolfson is. The lack of an overly theatrical performance surprisingly enhances the show, allowing the audience to connect to her on a more personal level. She is relatable not as a character, but as a human being. Wolfson, with a face that seems to have miraculously retained an innocent quality, could just as easily be a friend, neighbour or family member. Never in a million years would you run into this woman on the street and think to yourself, Now here is someone who has seen firsthand the horrors that mankind is capable of unleashing.
Wolfson never at any moment blatantly preaches a larger moral issue (something that performers of one-person shows often find difficult to avoid), but rather trusts that her audience will come to their own conclusions. Ultimately, I found myself leaving the theatre strongly inspired by the work, both onstage and off, of someone I had never known prior to that evening and highly impressed by what can be considered a great journalistic achievement.
Fritzie reviewed the Edinburgh preview of the show in New York at 59e59