Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fringe Festival 2015: "Getting to Ellen"

Day: 5

Show: 22

Category: Drama

Directed by: Patrick Kozicky

Location: Mixed Blood Theatre

Summary: Local transgender activist Ellen Krug's memoir of her life and transition is beautifully brought to life on stage with three actors playing her.

Highlights: This is definitely one of the most moving and inspirational true stories you will see at the Fringe this year. Firstly, Ellen's struggle to love herself and live her own life, even if it hurts those she loves, is something everyone can relate to in some way. Secondly, playwright David Ahlers has beautifully and brilliantly adapted the book to the stage by portraying Ellen's story through monologues delivered by three different actors along with scenes between Ellen and her therapist and wife. The writing, along with the direction by Patrick Kozicky, is so clear and precise that it somehow makes perfect sense that these three people are Ellen. Finally, Amy Schweickhardt, Joe Wiener, and Catherine Hansen are equally excellent at portraying Ellen's struggle with living her true self, with not a false note among them. The writing, direction, and acting make it so easy to understand and empathize with issues that most of us who have not personally experienced them struggle to make sense of. An inspirational story is one thing, but when it's brought to life with such professionalism, honesty, and heart, it's a truly special event that seems to transcend this little theater festival.