The Hollywood Fringe Festival has dozens of solo shows covering addictions, obsessions, coming of age and overcoming trauma of various kinds. Here are two shows addressing trauma medical and parental (with a little bit of traumatic crossover).
Gail Thomas has seen a few things. She’s fearless, leaving behind a career as a lawyer in Oklahoma to pursue her storytelling, acting, photography, and romantic dreams in New York. She’s brutally honest, describing the failures of a long quasi-relationship and several of her internal organs in detail that sometimes crosses into the TMI zone.
Billed as a story about Thomas’ experience as the 13th patient in an FDA study of psychedelics, Patient 13 spends 40 of its 50 minutes laying groundwork for a happy ending of magic mushroom bliss. Luckily the backstory about two people unable to commit and a gynecological nightmare are compelling, if sometimes icky.
Thomas, a Moth Story SLAM winner, has a winning way and a lot of shocking details. From “defensive dating” to a string of doctors, this is a story of a strong woman who kicked cancer and got rid of the toxic people in her life. Thomas reminds us all to participate fully in life, to trust and let go. And she leaves you wondering where you can get your hands on some psilocybin.
Patient 13 has three performances remaining, through June 21 at the Broadwater Black Box, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. at Lillian Way. For dates and times and to purchase tickets, click here.
My Dead Dad
Father-son relationships are complicated, so mixed feelings are understandable. But if they’re too mixed, a story becomes murky. Comedian Sam Jae opens his show describing how terrified he was of his angry, yelling, “Breaking Bad Dad.” His dad called him out for his weight and tried to force him into a macho mold (“You can’t fail if you don’t try!”) before dying when Jae was 15. Was his dad cruel? Misguided? Loving and kind? All of the above?
Jae’s story starts out on the cruel side and ends, posthumously, on the kind. Dad was domineering and distant. Except when he was involved and caring. See? Complicated. Jae has a lot to work out. It feels like maybe this show will help.
My Dead Dad has two remaining performances, Sat., June 10 at 8:30 and Thursday, June 22 at 6:30pm at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. at Hudson. For specific showtimes and to purchase tickets, click here. The show is listed as 45 minutes, but the performance I saw ran long.
Here are some other picks for solo shows:
Sister from Another Planet by Nancy Beverly
Getting There by Rebecca O’Brien
Odyssey, Race and Racism by Levy Lee Simon (directed by Juliette Jeffers)
Being 80: Too Old to Change? by Art Shulman
M.A.D.D About the Boy by Roni Gayer (directed and co-written by Nico Fife)
Hypomanic by Stephanie Matsuba
How to Be an Ending by Elena Rosa
I Feel the Need by Naval aviator Loree “Rowdy” Draude
Jackie by Everleigh Brenner
Criminal Defence: A Comedy by Murray Meyer