Lily E. Garnet has command of her make up, yeah…but really she can wield words. In War Paint, our spunky actor takes a bulldozing charge at our cultural obsessive need to be judged on external appearances. She pleads with us to build each other up, to disregard our penchant to collect “likes” and to mind our own business about others’ personal thoughts about ourselves. She powerfully holds our gaze throughout the performance as she lays herself bare and reveals that vulnerability is okay. In fact being your authentic self is pretty great. Content warning for sexual violence.
–BRIDGET M., PortFringe 2019 Review Team
“It could be awesome or it could be horrible,” said my tweenage daughter before seeing War Paint, a one woman show whose billing (to her) threatened the possibility of a preachy, heavy handed bore. Her conclusion? Awesome. Mine too. Lily E. Garnett’s story telling is skillful, sharp, honest, and funny as she explores the profound degree to which appearance affects the inner and outer lives of women. Using layers of makeup as a metaphor for battle armor, she uses personal anecdotes, audio tracks, and audience interaction to wonderful effect, earning every bit of earnest preaching she does at the end. This is Fringe, people! The real deal. Get out there and see it!
–MARK SHAUGHNESSY, PortFringe 2019 Review Team
This show was like a bubble-gum lozenge. It was jam packed with personality, all while tending to and soothing an ache. War Paint is (in the best ways) vulnerable, cheesy, harrowing, and optimistic. Lily Garnett weaves the kind of honest and exuberant story telling that 13 year old me would have seen in a high-school gymnasium during some sort of school-wide presentation, and I would have felt like a brand new freakin’ (very 13 year old) woman. But as a 20’ something, Warpaint was a show that felt like an hour of being seen in a “damn girl, I feel you” sort of way. However, in any piece about gender, there is always more room for broader perspective, and understanding reasons to “don warpaint” outside of the cis-white-feminine binary. But the heart of the show is universal: whatever our reasons to look (or not look) a certain way, the choices are ultimately ours. Understanding that makeup can all at once be empowering, oppressive, creative, and restrictive. Lily’s relationship with makeup is complicated, as she explores it while discussing societal beauty standards and prejudices. Her enchanting energy demands your full attention with ease, and makes you feel like you’re at an empowerment slumber party. It is a show that, from a feminist lens, may leave you wanting a bit more discussion on autonomy when it comes to beauty, but with the hour given, Lily takes us on a worthwhile plunge down the crack in the surface.
–MACKENZIE BARTLETT, PortFringe 2019 Review Team