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Photo: Kevin Williams.

Fringe Review: ABLE

By Amanda Dookie on June 17, 2022

ABLE
Created by Vicki Williams
Produced by FRACTUAL THEATRE (Ottawa)
45m | PG | Comedy
Content warnings: Mental Health

In this solo performance by Vicki Williams, Catherine, a middle-aged woman, shares her experience and knowledge of osteoarthritis with a young group of volunteers at a seniors’ centre. Despite some minor complaints with how her lines were delivered, it was still a believable performance in the way she described the pain of osteoarthritis, and its impacts on Catherine’s life came across as genuine. For anyone who does not have any experience with osteoarthritis, this play provides a glimpse into what it is like to live with the disease. For those who can relate, it may be comforting to be reminded that you are not alone in your experience.

Whether you personally suffer from the disease or not, there is probably something you can learn about osteoarthritis from this play, as Catherine uses humour and energy to illuminate a detailed history of osteoarthritis research and findings, dating back to the time of dinosaurs (admittedly, I was a bit skeptical to hear about dinosaurs with osteoarthritis, but after some fact-checking online, I can confirm that scientists did in fact x-ray a fossilized elbow joint of a hadrosaur with evidence of arthritis).

Despite the burdening and encumbering aspects of the disease, explained by Catherine, the name of the play is ABLE for a reason. Catherine admits that while she could let the disease bring her down, she doesn’t let it stop her. It serves as a reminder to us all that regardless of our disabilities or imperfections, a positive outlook on life can help lift you (and others around you) up. After the play, Vicki makes a point of sharing support resources for those in the audience who may have been triggered by the performance, outlined at the back of the play’s program.


ABLE by Vicki Williams is playing at Studio 1201 (60 Waller Street) until June 26, 2022. Tickets are $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 https://apt613.ca/category/festival/fringe/.