Myra's Story will stay with you long after it's over
- Written by Trish West
The Arts Project
By Brian Foster
Directed by Darlene Spencer
Featuring Jennifer Cornish
June 8th, 3 - 4:30 pm
June 9th, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
June 12th, 7:30 - 9:00 pm
June 13th, 7 - 8:30 pm
June 14th, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
June 16th, 6 - 7:30 pm
Myra is someone we all know or know of. We have turned a blind eye to if sleeping on a park bench, made excuses for passing out in the lazy boy and behind closed doors will pretend no one else notices. She could be any one of us who has tragically lost a loved one, fought the isolation of parenthood, been financially broken or witnessed a losing battle with cancer. If you take one or all of these challenges and add the struggles found when facing the demons within a bottle… Myra’s Story suddenly becomes real, relatable and a startling possibility.
Jennifer Cornish does a fantastic job while giving us an honest, real and at times brutal portrayal of a homeless alcoholic. Guiding us past the misconceptions of the individual we refuse to make eye contact with, and allowing us a glimpse into the past to look into the life of her 16 year old self. To see the girl whose dreams eventually will be buried beneath the pain and alcoholic haze.
Surprisingly, this play has many opportunities for humor as we experience Myra’s street-smarts and wit. There are moments that your heart will break, witnessing her loss and despair. You might even at times be uncomfortable, seeing yourself rushing past on a cold winter day.
Jennifer Cornish gives us beautiful portrayal for each of the individuals within her story… her alcoholic father, husband Tommy, close friends and even Norris the gnome. I am still marveling how Cornish managed to take her present image as a dirty old drunk and into the past - transforming into a terrified 5 year old girl or innocent 16 year old self.
The light changes and sound effects are smooth while reflecting on the past - only to suddenly without warning, be jerked back into the present. Looking up from the memories to realize reality is the brutal cold while peddling in the street, hoping someone will at least look you in the face. The blocking consisted of several poignant images throughout the play such as cradling the wine bottle while remembering her infant son or when the lights fade during the final scene on the park bench.
This is a play that opens your eyes to see past the image of alcoholism and allows you to see the story of one person behind the bottle. It is one of those performances that will stay with you long after.
Trish West is preparing for a busy weekend reviewing as Fringe quickly approaches June 5-16th. She is excited to have the opportunity to join Elgin Theatre Guild doing something new while bringing their previous show Old Love by Norm Foster to London Sept 19 - 21st at The Arts Project and will be jumping in right after to join AlvergoRoot's production of Press Cuttings by Bernard Shaw Oct 30-Nov 2nd. This summer Trish will be busy creating art pieces to be used as the adjudicator's awards in this years London One Act Festival November 4-10, 2013. Plans for her own play Skin Deep are well underway and she is continually amazed at the support and interest that is gathering while preparing it to take the stage at TAP Mar 31- April 5th, 2014.