2023 Capital Fringe Review: ‘SPADURA’ by Dahéli Hall (4 1⁄2 stars)

A tour-de-force of turning tragedy into comedy.

By Vivian Thurman

When playwright and performer Dahéli Hall’s journey from an overachieving host of baby showers to a self-loathing recipient of fertility treatments takes the stage, it is surprisingly funny!

“It’s better to be envied than pitied!” Dahéli Hall’s Haitian mother used to tell her. This bit of advice kept Hall, a Catholic schoolgirl, studious and ambitious. Another piece of advice, “Chastity, chastity, chastity!” helped Hall stay single and childless into her thirties.As Hall chronicles her painful experiences with IVF treatments, her emotional highs and lows are palpable. When dealing with fertility advice from friends and buying fertility devices that lead to frustration toward the 8-billion-dollar fertility industry, she’s pragmatic and skeptical. She’s infertile, her career stalls, and her finances run out. She hits rock bottom when all her failures collide.

In addition to being staged as a stand-up comedy routine, with microphone, stand, and stool, the set includes colorful decorations of banners and balloons and a table of gifts appropriate for a baby shower. She moves with physical humor throughout the space, undaunted by the walls, pillar, or floor. An occasional photo projected on the back wall shows a peek into the life of this woman who desperately wants to be with child!

An award-winning comedic writer and performer, Hall is also a director and MFA graduate from USC. A native of Miami, Florida, she’s especially proud of her Jamaican/Haitian parents, her Filipino husband, and their dog, Carmen! You’ll meet them all in this “labor of love.”


Running Time: 70 minutes.

SPADURA plays July 23 at 8:15 pm at Squirt – 1st Floor – 1050 Thomas Jefferson. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online.

Genre: Comedy
Playwright: Dahéli Hall
Performer: Dahéli Hall
Producer: Elizabeth Wei-Ling Yng-Wong
Associate Producer: Amelia Borella
Technical Director: Mike Kindle
Age appropriateness: Recommended for children 13+ older
Profanity: Yes

The complete 2023 Capital Fringe Festival guidebook is online here.

Vivian Thurman is a lover of all things theater and fitness. Find her on the aisle, or in the gym, where her worlds collide!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here