Now Where Was I?
Created by Briane Nasimok
Produced by No Fixed Address Productions (Toronto)
52m | G | Storytelling
The title of this show is a double entendre. The first meaning brings to mind storytellers who have meandered so far from their story that they have lost their way. “Now where was I?” means “I’m so lost, I can’t remember the way back to my own story.” The second reminds me of Pete Seeger in his later years singing about how “his get up and go has got up and went” but he can still “think of the places my get up has been.”
Briane Nasimok has been near several famous names in stand-up comedy, theatre, film, and television (I won’t give away their names because most of them get revealed in a punch line), but hasn’t caught the brass ring. He’s been a warm-up man, entertaining the audience before the cameras roll. He’s had bit parts in forgotten films alongside actors, writers, and directors who went on to illustrious careers. He’s stepped aside from his time slot at Yuk Yuks so another comic could show his chops to a prospective director. Does his performance as “Fawsi Ibn Fawsi” ring a bell for you? Me, neither.
Although he’s done stand-up, Nasimok isn’t so much a comic as a storyteller. This show features video excerpts from his live pre-COVID shows, plus a few stories told to his video camera.
Interspersed between his professional stories are tales from his own life: as a child, a teenager, a brother to a sister who has cancer, and as a man with a partner who stands by his side in his time of need. These are gentle, personal, self-deprecating stories that reveal Nasimok’s humanity. He grows on his audience.
Without the famous names, these stories probably wouldn’t be remarkable. But Nasimok has skillfully woven threads from each of his stories into the final story about Tricia.
Tricia doesn’t seem any more remarkable than his previous stories. But the arc is different. This time, Briane doesn’t back away from failure. He tries again, tries harder. He makes progress. He hopes. And the audience (in the video recording) hopes with him. The ending is complicated, unexpected, but simple in its appeal. You can hear Nasimok touch people’s hearts, just as he touched mine. An ending worth every one of the 52 minutes of this show.
Now Where Was I? is screening at the Ottawa Fringe Festival until June 27, 2021. Tickets are pick-your-price from $12.50 to $47.50 (100% of which goes to the artists) plus a $2.50 surcharge. Visit ottawafringe.com for streaming information and the complete festival lineup. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe. Shows are on-demand, however the festival’s ticketing platform can take up to 12 hours to email the streaming link. So although there’s no risk of online shows selling out, your best bet is to buy tickets early!