One of the mainstays of any Fringe is of course the solo show. Under that heading, there are many sub-genres, and the most frequent seen of those is the bio-presentation wherein the performer calls upon their personal history for the subject they hope to shape into a theatrically viable show.
This is not as simple a task as many might think. But when successfully achieved, it can be among the most satisfying of any staging you might attend, by the power invoked through the artist’s bravery in stripping away the barriers between the emotional truth of the experience and the audience.
In most types of shows there are means and methods for hoodwinking your audience into assuming the production you’ve just put them through isn’t as awful as it actually is; big, boisterous musical numbers, high blown stylishness enforced on acting or blocking, closing the first act with the bloody amputation of a screaming man’s leg.
But in solo shows there’s no wiggle room for such cheating, and if it’s a charade they’re being shown the audience can spot it from the first syllable uttered.
In Laura Carson’s understated, funny, and oh so touching tale of a daughter leaving her LA life to care for her ailing father back in Atlanta, Georgia you need not fear such sham.
Carson doesn’t falter at crossing into the less attractive aspects present in any relationship between parent\child, and this display of artistic courage explains to a large degree the success of her show.
We come to know annoyance at our parents’ presence and we all learn the agony of their loss.
Carson shares her humanity with the audience, and the audience responds in kind. For this alone Carson’s show would be labeled a success. But Carson goes above what the audience’s expectations are for this show.
She takes her sense of loss, and from that pain spins a golden conclusion to her tale in a moving affirmation of life.
How rare the performer who can share pain with her audience, then point out to them the reason to feel thankful for it.
For more of my reviews of the Hollywood Fringe go to: The TVolution.com