nytheatre.com review by Shelley Molad
July 15, 2007
Fix-it is Megan Griswold's solo piece that chronicles her many unsuccessful yet enlightening attempts towards self-help, alternative therapies, and remedies she endures after she is betrayed by the man she loves.
The Zen-like music that fills the room prior to Griswold's entrance helps create the mood for this piece. Appearing on stage in a pink ballerina-like dress that flatters her petite frame, Griswold looks great for a middle-aged woman who has undergone more than 10,000 hours of therapy. With her peppy voice and charged energy, this woman doesn't look like she even needs it. Does this mean her commitment to therapy has proved successful?
As someone who has not spent her life on the stage, Griswold is brave to have conjured a one-woman piece, including a song she wrote that certainly showcases her flair. Fix-it contains a number of moments that render amusement, moments that some or all of us can relate to having been in doubt about what it is we actually hope to gain from seeking help. Some of Griswold's alternative therapies are surely zanier than the average shrink session, and there may be no one who can top her endless list of practices which she shares with us on stage in a delightfully comical way.
Griswold begins by recalling bits and pieces of her past involving a relationship with a man named Tim. We are given little information, and then the stage suddenly goes black. The audience experiences an awkward moment, for it is unclear whether this is a mistake of the light board operator or part of the show. When the lights come back up, Griswold is standing in a different place on stage sharing bits and pieces of another story from her seemingly disjointed past. And so the rest of the show continues in this way, with abrupt blackouts serving as transitions between each story.
Throughout the show, Griswold talks; in fact, she never stops talking. It almost feels as though we are sitting in on one of her therapy sessions (she does in fact recreate some of them for us). There is little use of the space, save for a white bed that Griswold utilizes when recreating psychic therapy. When Griswold acts out the scene rather than telling us about it, the show becomes interesting and more engaging. As an audience, we enjoy seeing an actor play an action rather than tell us about it.
You may find yourself wondering, "What are Griswold's problems?" When she finally reveals Tim's shocking past, it becomes clear why Griswold felt the need to seek help, though it seems as though it is Tim who really needed the help. Aside from having to deal with the consequences of Tim's situation, contemplate it, and accept it, Griswold herself seems pretty stable other than being a victim of someone else's crime. Sure, Griswold tends to analyze every situation, but when did rationalization become a setback?
Because of her intent to make light of every situation, it is difficult to feel or understand any of the pain Griswold experienced. She is such a likeable character that the audience wants to empathize with her. We want to feel her pain and her struggle, so that in the end the path towards self-discovery is rewarding both to her and to us.