“There’s a lot of humor in Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, but it packs a truly devastating wallop, and Center Repertory Company’s production at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts doesn’t pull any punches. […] Director Elizabeth Carter’s crisp and nuanced production is marvelously powerful, with a terrific cast. […] Lisa Anne Porter is electric with energy as Cynthia’s best friend and coworker Tracey, which is a lot of fun when they’re carousing but downright dangerous when cooler heads are needed.”
“Lisa Anne Porter is a marvelously compelling Gruach, forthright and defiant, demanding her due and unyielding in remaining queen no matter her circumstances. Her eye contact seems to never waver, and there’s a sly humor in the way she toys with people’s perceptions of her. This is not the villainous Lady M of Shakespeare, but she is formidable.” —Sam Hurwitt, Marin Independent Journal, September, 2022
“Lisa Anne Porter, who we are allowed to say is Macbeth’s wife — known in factual history and in this play as Gruach — towers as Scotland’s Queen, bringing her warmth and believable warrior courage to the role of a challenged woman refusing to relinquish the throne.” Marin Magazine, October 2022
“Whenever Porter’s onstage, the show steadies. Her Gruach might be injecting mischief into the air, her Mona Lisa smile concealing cunning mixed with genuine feeling, but so lightly does Porter wear her character that even her mystery brings clarity.” —Lily Janiak, SF Chronicle, September, 2022
It’s audacious. It’s ambitious. It’s weird and intellectual, yet welcoming, playful and imaginative. It’s art that asks much and doesn’t apologize, but helps you rise to its challenge and pays dividends when you do. It’s art that’s worthy of a city as dynamic and inventive as San Francisco.
Porter’s Julia, in a solo, bedridden scene somehow bridging wake, seance, confession and confrontation, makes ghosts feel as real as cold breath on the back of your neck, all with the audience seated just inches away from her.”
“In another piece of power, Lisa Ann Porter pounds a through line of threat towards Fefu from the moment she fights her hallucinations (assisted mightily by the sublime soundscape of Jake Rodriguez, whose playlist is more like a slaylist). A living, pulsing set of breaths that build mightily to a harrowing end are an exercise in Porter’s ability to reach a divine level of transcendence.”
“Lisa Anne Porter’s portrayal of Julia is one of the evening’s most arresting performances…. At her bedside during our tour, we witness an unsettling, frightful hallucination of Julia that provides more insights into the dominating male world that the playwright seems to be reminding us exists more than in just nightmares. As the evening progresses, Lisa Anne Porter’s Julia provides us with a disconcerting, climatic showdown with Catherine Castellanos’ Fefu that proves the star power of both actors.”
“In envisioning a very liberal and very privileged Berkeley private school, Jonathan Spector’s play is so crisply defined that you might have to periodically remind yourself that you haven’t already met these characters in real life. Don (Rolf Saxon) is the conflict-averse head of school who at various executive committee meetings with parents gets a balletic spring in his step from abstract nouns, scones and markering notes on tearaway butcher paper. Longtime hyper-involved volunteer Suzanne (Lisa Anne Porter, bouncing up and down with the enthusiasm of Richard Simmons) is equally vehement in bulldozing her views over everyone else’s and then reproaching herself for doing so.”
“In Part Two, Enter The Roar, we witness the sentencing, when her sister Theresa (nuanced Lisa Anne Porter) fiercely defends Eva’s actions. Theresa says, “Wouldn’t it be nice to find a country where it says somewhere in the bylaws that I own myself and my children and family. A place where you lot don’t have a thing to say about it.” Theresa speak for a woman’s agency.”
“But for the most part, a flash in Porter or Hayon’s eyes, or a slyly telegraphed change of expression, brilliantly conveys how a stray word or emotion sets off each flashback, and what it means. Fears of commitment come in every possible shade. Recurrent fraught moments on a Ferris wheel, preparing to sky dive and in stuck elevators — the locations indicated as much by the actors’ bodies as by sound effects — bring home the leaps of faith each lover must make. But perhaps none more so than Porter’s hilariously inept, and deeply moving, half-direct, half-roundabout attempts at marriage proposals. If you think you’re losing track of where you are in the story, wait a moment and it should become clear. In the hands of Porter and Hayon, the spare, incisive poetry of Barfield’s writing exerts a pretty strong pull.”
The twins Viola and Sebastian (both played by the marvelous Lisa Anne Porter) each think the other perished in a shipwreck…The happy ending, when the separated twins reunite, is handled deftly, and Porter, who has delineated her male and female (and female pretending to be male) characters beautifully, comes as close as a single actor could to making that scene poignant and a little heartbreaking.