Written and Directed by Deon Denton
Part of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival
Off Off Broadway, New Play
Runs through 8.21.14
Connelly Theatre, 220 East 4th Street
by Zahra Sadjadi on 8.11.14
Tea Nguyen in No Visible Scars.
BOTTOM LINE: An engaging story of how a young woman who has spent her life contemplating suicide decides to live instead.
Myranda (Tea Nguyen) is a young woman dedicating her life to the idea of ending it. As a result of complications during her birth, Myranda’s parents were forced to make a difficult choice between the life of their newborn and the life of Myranda’s mother. At the time, the choice of whether to live or die was not in Myranda’s hands. As an adult, she is taking her choice back. So the story of No Visible Scars unfolds, and, while the only two characters involved in the action of the play are Myranda and her frustrated therapist Deidra (Deon Denton), suicide, the hopelessness that fuels such a decision, and the specters which have haunted Myranda’s life enough for her to want to end it comprise much of what makes No Visible Scars interesting to watch.
Suicide, mental illness, and the struggle to overcome personal demons are powerful subjects to explore, and this play delivers in many ways. Moments of verbal sparring between Myranda and Deidra as well as a visual, choreographed demonstration of how Myranda got from “normal” to “the edge” are compelling.
Nevertheless, the gravity and nuances of overcoming lifelong patterns and self-destructive ways of thinking become a little bit watered down, too easily discarded, or too simply wrapped up towards the end. There are so many compelling metaphors and plot devices in this production which lose their power in staging, sound cues, and lack of development. Life is complicated, life choices are complicated, remaining hopeful in the face of all this complication is complicated, and for a woman so committed to committing suicide, the journey to stepping back from the ledge seems a little too easy.
(No Visible Scars plays at Connelly Theatre, 220 East 4th Street through August 21, 2014. Remaining performances are Monday 8/11 at 2PM; Friday 8/15 at 3PM; Sunday 8/17 at 2:15PM; and Thursday 8/21 at 9:30PM. Tickets are $18 and are available at fringenyc.org. For more information, visit promiseproductions.ca.)