“It Felt Empty When The Heart Went At First But It’s Alright Now” is a big headline with an even bigger story to tell. Elizabeth Milanovich does not disappoint in this production at the Charlestown Working Theatre on Friday and Saturday nights until November 1st.
Milanovich stars as Dijana, the narrator and lead character in this heartbreaking personal journey. Milanovich has the task of delivering this delicate story in an intimate, believable way and she goes above and beyond. Co-presented by Theatre on Fire and the Charlestown Working Theatre, It Felt Empty… follows Dijana, a young Eastern European woman forced into prostitution in London by her former boyfriend and current pimp, Babac, who claims she needs to repay a debt of 20,000 UK Pounds.
Through the show, Dijana shows a range of emotions, from anger to sadness to humor to hopefulness. At times, her humor can become sardonic. She pretends to be in a L’Oreal hair care commercial, because she’s worth it. “I’m worth about 1,000 euros… or to put in easy language, about two and a half iPhones,” a feat not many others could say.
The story carefully draws attention to a topic that is often overlooked but always happening around us: sex trafficking. She calls herself high class, sometimes going to nice hotels to be with famous men. She jokes that she is so modern because she likes sex—it’s why she doesn’t mind the job too much.
Tomorrow is a common theme in this play. Always hopeful, Milanovich’s Dijana is looking forward to better days that are right around the corner. Despite her situation, she seems to never give up hope that tomorrow will be better and she will be on her way.
The theater is the perfect setting for this emotional story. With the venue’s intimate atmosphere, Milanovich has the ability to pull each person in to her journey as Dijana, a “professional romantic, eternal optimist, and prostitute by circumstance.” Throughout Dijana’s story, the audience is moved through different stages, to actively become part of her journey.
It Felt Empty… was written by English playwright Lucy Kirkwood. First performed in England, the moving story can now be seen on the American stage. Maureen Shae directs this production at the CWT. Alongside Elizabeth Milanovich as the lead, there is a short appearance featuring Obahi Janice, as Gloria, a Nigerian immigrant.
For only $10 a ticket, this show is well worth it for an intimate, moving theater performance, not to mention a small price to pay to support the arts in the local community.