With a comic swipe at Arthur Miller’s tragic Death of a Salesman, one-woman show Death of a Beauty Saleswoman, a black comedy, arrives in Solihull next week
Armed only with blonde ambition, a total lack of morals and a terrifying arsenal of high pressure selling techniques, the show’s saleswoman extraordinaire Jacqueline has wormed her way to success and riches.
But when her empire begins to crumble, the mask begins to slip...
“Like Willy Loman, she is a salesperson that has seen better days,” said writer and star Debbie Tracey, who was inspired to create Jacqueline by the characters she met while working on high-end beauty counters.
“She’s a very extreme version of me. It’s the me I would be if I had no morals. I find that slightly worrying because she’s awful!
“She’s like a hybrid between Oprah Winfrey and (Rik Mayall’s) Alan B’Stard.
“I’m quite amazed really- when I first did the show last year, people were generally quite sympathetic to her. There’s a lot of backstory- it goes some of the way to explain why she’s this monster.”
But Debbie said her anti-hero’s behaviour helped difuse tensions around controversial topics such as race.
“She says the most outrageous things,” Debbie added. “She absolutely thinks that real beauty is nothing to do with all this roots and culture nonsense.
“There’s themes of race because I’m a black actress but I didn’t want it to just be a piece of black - in inverted commas - theatre.
“I think the reason why it’s comedy is because you can get away with so much more if you make people laugh.”
Directed by Steven Luckie, Death of a Beauty Saleswoman, is presented as part of the Birmingham Comedy Festival, at Solihull Arts Complex studio on Saturday October 13.