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Anxiety Written

solo performance · jessica carleton · Ages 10+ · one person show · United States of America

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July 22, 2018

What I liked

The largely blank canvas of an empty stage was an asset in affording Ms. Carelton the space to do her thing without interference. She’s a great actress-able to effortlessly embody character with the simplest shift of body language, mannerism, accent, and all that jazz, yet it never felt like-showboating. She made it all flow into her conversational style- as if someone recounting their day just happened to be an effortlessly great story-teller and skilled mimic so the narrative washes over instead of feeling too self-indulgent or like a story in which important details are being lost due to author’s self-consciousness. Her passages on O.C.D.-while specific to her experiences- contained useful lessons without being being didactic. Humor is well-used and keeps the enterprise from appearing to revel in self-pity. Lightening was also well done. Those Emmy’s didn’t write themselves! Some great 90’s music during the intro.

What I didn't like

The ending felt a tad rushed in a need to wrap everything up.

My overall impression

Sometimes going in blind is best, as an impromptu introduction to this writer and performer only amplified the surprising degree of accomplishment that followed.

Slightly out of breath, this Gal casually approached us in the parking lot to explain that she’s on next but as a result of her hectic schedule, ‘fumbled promotion for her show, but she’s got talent, moxie, 5 Emmy’s to her credit and if we gave her a look-see and didn’t like we can get our $10. bucks re-funded (does anyone actually do that?) but you won’t be disappointed.’ As one who can appreciate audaciousness, the offer was taken and boy were we not disappointed, instead being treated to a one-woman wonder. Recounting various chapters in her life story, Jessica Carelton skillfully conveys her journey as a person struggling with O.C.D. and anxiety through various tonal and emotional registers. She balances wit, poignancy, and pathos, delivering a tour de force performance to craft an endearingly human portrait of her younger self while sharing pertinent anecdotes about the various (mostly sympathetic) figures that contributed to her personal development. Moving and very funny. The previously mentioned exchange with Ms. Carelton gained resonance post performance; enabling me to appreciate the evident growth demonstrated by her ability to boldly champion her work and message. Recommended!

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