Leslie (ALICE RIPLEY), a housewife and 50-plus piano teacher, decides to follow her life-long dream of being a rock ‘n roll singer much to the chagrin of her husband (ROBERT CLOHESSY), who is running for political office and her daughter (LEAH BARKER) who is about to embark for college.
Upon initially reading the script for Sugar! I was struck by the main theme of the piece. On the surface, it is simply the story of a middle-aged woman who finally decides to follow her dreams. Underneath, it is a much deeper tale of a woman who has lost her identity rediscovering who she is and the journey she must take to find herself. Her past and identity are fragmented in her mind. Her youth haunts her and returns to her in sudden waves.
Throughout her journey she must put the pieces together to reveal a picture of who she is and wants to be or be lost forever. In order to do this, I intend to get into the head of the main character of the film – Leslie. She is defeated at the start of our story. Leslie appears to be a simple wife who has resigned herself to being the support system for her husband’s political career…playing it safe, giving piano lessons, being a mom. To me, it is the moments that flash through Leslie’s head as she navigates through her every day life that reconnect her to living her life to the fullest and finding out who she really is. It is her inner monologue and mind’s eye that anchor this piece.
As Leslie sits at the dinner table disconnected from her family, she remembers the happiness of her past. As she mourns the death of her friend and fellow musician, she remembers the thrill of being on stage. As she looks through photos and listens to the music of her youth, she questions who she has become. As she recollects the friendships of her past, she learns what loyalty means – not only being true to everyone else, but true to oneself. Leslie’s road is a bumpy one with the people around her pulling her in various directions. She makes mistakes, has an affair, and neglects her teenage daughter; she is far from perfect. She is a human being…well rounded and strong.