Anthony J. Piccione
While I had heard good things before about their work, I had never had the pleasure of seeing a show at Medicine Show Theatre – located a floor above Ensemble Studio Theatre – until this past Friday. So when I was invited to come review the one-woman show I’m Mindful…of my Anxiety – which premiered on Friday – I was intrigued to see it, both for that reason, and also because issues of social anxiety and mental health are very dear to my heart.
Written and performed by Elizabeth Wine, this play Ms. Wine takes us through much of her life story and through specific experiences that shaped her, with her mindfulness being a running theme of it all. Throughout the show, she tells us about a variety of aspects of her life – including her love of Beethoven, her time working at a major newspaper and her eventual return to acting, how yoga helped her deal with many aspects of life, the time when she tried to learn to speak French, and even about what she learned from a documentary about Joe DiMaggio – while proving to be entertaining from beginning to end.
In her performance, Ms. Wine proves to be a charming and warm presence on stage, often proving to be successful in getting audience members to laugh, while consistently keeping them engaged. The use of dance and movement – such as during one scene depicting an acting exercise she participated in while learning acting, to name one example – adds to the overall performance and the experience of the show.
In terms of other production aspects, Ms. Wine is often at a desk with her laptop, at various points playing Beethoven and interpreting what he meant to accomplish with his work. The use of props in this play is one of the finer points of the play’s technical aspects, such as the signs used in-between scenes, as well as stacks of newspapers and yoga books that are also used, over the course of the play. The use of music and sound – such as the classical music interludes the audience is treated to – also proves to be an especially nice touch.
I always find it admirable when playwrights and performers are willing to not merely open up about their problems with mental illness, but are willing to go deep into the substance of how they dealt with it and pour so much of themselves into their art. This show is a good example of how to do that, and is bound to make you laugh at times, while also being potentially relatable to some audience members. For those who are interested in hearing such stories in theatre, be sure to consider checking out this show, if you have the chance!
“I’m Mindful…of my Anxiety” runs at Medicine Show Theatre on Friday and Saturday evenings from September 22nd thru October 14th. For more information, please visit www.anxietyplay.com Photo: Elizabeth Wine, credit: John Cencio Burgos