Reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
Heather Dowling should change her name. For if the entire last year since her debut at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival is any proof, Dowling has become a ‘darling’ of femme soloists who have launched a career via a first professional foray into show business.
Dowling has spent years and years and then some years doing what all of us do – work.
Dowling, until now however, has managed to work more jobs, including a stint in the U.S. military, than her actual age in a lifetime. It is the unbelievable statistic that has brought her to this moment and add to that a sigh of relief because she’s, “Unemployed. Finally!”
One can’t help but immediately appreciate the humor of a consummate optimist who continues to lie to herself that things will be ok when they just keep getting worse with each forced transition into another difficult job.
And worse, not only does her self-esteem suffer, but so do all of her relationships which always seem a little out of sync with her grand plans.
Dowling does not in any way arise from her plight unscathed. In fact, not only does she live with a permanent leg injury from her Army stint, and currently dormant Multiple Sclerosis, she is now living with the uncertainty of being a professional actress. But who care! It’s awesome!
For Dowling it’s a dream come true. And no one could disagree that a life of spontaneity is certainly more exciting and fulfilling than years of desperation and disappointment and getting talked out of your dreams all the time – until you don’t.
There are a few kinks in the show. But Dowling is so appealing and the material unquestionably relatable that her ‘everywoman’ story absolutely stands on its own without propping of any kind.
Unemployed. Finally. is the story of a woman who tried more than 30 jobs, in 30 years before finally doing what everyone said she couldn’t. The show premiered at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival and won the Encore! Producers’ Award and was honored as one of only 5 out of 84 solo shows nominated for Best Solo-Performance. Unemployed. Finally. has been a selection of the 2015 Cake Batter’s Funny Women Festival, the 2016 Theatre Unleashed Spotlight Series and Whitefire Theatre’s 2016 Solofest – the largest solo-performance festival on the West Coast. It is now headed Off-Broadway, New York City to be part of United Solo 2016 on Weds, Oct. 19, 2016.
Written & Performed by Heather Dowling
Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson
Produced by Bryan Rasmussen