There’s no telling how much pain there is behind a smile. There is certainly no telling just how much is behind Grace’s smile when she steps on the stage. This one woman show begins with snippy remarks, between masturbation and sips of wine. Meeting Grace, you got a sense she’s a confident, millennial woman with a striking yet endearing charisma. But the perils of being a woman never cease to exist, the pain lurks beneath lonesome indulgence in self-hating self-love and drunken hazes.
At first it seems like naivety keeps her head below the water, drowning her in relationships with men who suck the love out of her. She’s wide-eyed and optimistic about the prospect of love, and I find myself hoping it finds her. But it’s a painful sting when the love she found with an Icelandic musician traps her into his dangerous dance of exploitation. The relationship unpicks the traumatic mileposts of her life, unveiling the pain that hides behind Grace’s smile. They clot the flow of self-love and misconstrue a stab for a caress. The show laments that whether they know it or not, parents sculpt the way we love and how we think we should be loved.
Kristin Winter’s performance convinces you it’s her own story. Therein lies the piece’s poignance: the realisation that Grace’s story has to be felt to be told, not just heard or understood. But it’s a sad realisation that it is lived and known all too well. It’s a common pain, a shared pain that society can only hope to be rid of. You certainly felt Winter knew this pain, even if it wasn’t her’s word for word. It’s even more convincing in the way she navigates the show’s many tempos. Reflecting reality of internal torment too well hidden, as the show effortlessly tosses between pain and the quick merciful cut of humour. You are gently guided through tragedy.
Through a selection of multimedia projecting and amplifying different languages of parental neglect, or audience interaction that visually represents the piece’s prevalence, it is obvious and heartbreakingly certain that one woman told the story of millions. This is the show at the fringe that needs to be known. To discover the pieces of it in ourselves, the ones we love, and the ones we don’t know exist.
19:15 @ Summerhall – Red Lecture Theatre
Aug 11-13, 15-20, 22-27