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Nailed it! Salon drama is love letter to borough • Brooklyn Paper

Nailed it! Salon drama is love letter to borough

Shop talk: Playwright and performer Radha Blank is behind a one-woman show about kinship over fake nails.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Love and friendship trump gentrification in one place — the nail salon.

In her new one-woman play, HappyFlowerNail, playwright Radha Blank is hoping to show the story of a space where women get together to apply paint to their nails and end up finding their chosen family.

Blank moves back and forth between the five characters, who each embody their own unique voice, creating a love letter to Brooklyn.

“It combines a passion for storytelling with a passion for community,” said Blank, who was one of the winners of the 2011 Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting.

The accolade she has received for her work reflects the nerve-touching nature of her dramas, which capture nuanced relationships while reflecting real-world tensions.

“She’s a tour de force,” said BEAT artistic director Stephen Shelley. “What she’s doing is so topical and relevant, and her abilities as a writer are really high and her gifts as a performer are staggering.”

In the 1990s, Blank wrote and produced her first one-woman show, “Kenya,” about a basketball player in conversation with her dead mother.

In the ensuing years, she steered away from acting, but wrote ten ensemble plays before deciding to get back to performing.

“I started as a solo performer and now I’m returning to the form,” said Blank. “I miss connecting with an audience.”

Blank will perform HappyFlowerNail three times during the Brooklyn BEAT Festival across the borough.

HappyFlowerNail at the Irondale Center (85 S. Oxford St. in Fort Greene) Sept. 20, 7:30 pm, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (58 Seventh Ave. in Park Slope), Sept 21, 7:30 pm, Flatbush Reformed Church (890 Flatbush Ave. in Ditmas Park), Sept 22, 7:30 pm. $20 at www.beatbrooklyn.com.

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