by Blackbox Theatre Company
60min / Solo / Drama / Dance / Musical
What do you do when to overcome trauma your options are to remember or forget? To remember means to relive it, expose it, share it, keep suffering from it. To forget is to ignore the lasting effects that can’t just go away. Katie Nixon explores this in her solo show, 52 Pickup, as a young teenage girl in a religious family and community tries to figure out how to move on past a terrible trauma.
Nixon uses simple staging with a few furniture pieces and some simple audio to help demonstrate other characters for her to have conversations with—her mother, a friend, her therapist. The only issue with the staging is that because of the simple venue there wasn’t actually a stage—so Nixon was at the same level as the audience. The many parts of the show where she was sitting on the ground, lying on the couch etc, made it difficult for anyone past the second row to be able to tell what was going on. Such are the perils with a traveling Fringe show though.
The show deals with some serious and dark topics obviously, but there are still moments of levity and hope for the audience to walk away with.
While the trauma Nixon’s character Katie experiences is never described in detail, enough hints, suggestions, and examples of how things started help the audience imagine what came next. Katie’s wrestling with how she feels, how she’s allowed to feel, how everyone else wants her to feel and act. Audio clips of often-spoken lines since the #metoo movement took hold are played as Katie interacts with the audience to show her disapproval of some of the weak defenses and excuses for terrible behaviour. Religious and societal pressures come into play as Katie navigates her past and how she can live with it in the present and future.
Jumping between rhetorical questions for the audience, and breaking the fourth wall (actually expecting an answer or interaction from the audience) seemed blurry at times. Nixon also employs dance, song, and musical instruments into the piece, showcasing a wide variety of storytelling tools which at times can feel like a bit much.
Nixon portrays her character with honesty and openness. The show deals with some serious and dark topics obviously, but there are still moments of levity and hope for the audience to walk away with.
52 Pickup by Katie Nixon is playing at Arts Court Library (2 Daly Ave) until Sunday June 23, 2019. Tickets cost $12 online (plus a $2 processing fee) and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the schedule and box office info. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.