My Body of Work
Holly Brinkman packs a lot of elements into this highly entertaining show: her childhood, her grandparents’ experience during German occupation in the second World War, reconciling society’s expectations of her with her true self, and burlesque performance. Each element is skillfully done, but I am not sure that they integrate completely.
In creating a work of theatre, one of the biggest challenges lies in deciding which good parts to keep or expand, and which to discard or diminish in service of the overall effect. This is particularly true for works based on actual events. I’d like to have known either more or less about her grandparents and their post-war world. Adding more of this content would have satisfied my curiosity, but it would have detracted from other elements within the 60-minute time constraint. I am not sure that the work could sustain a longer running time in the Fringe context, though. Reducing the grandparent element would give more time to explore the element of personal growth, which is the core of this story, but the trans-generational effect on Brinkman’s journey could be lost.
I could see this production as a mainstream theatre production, though, and I hope that happens. Despite my reservations, I thoroughly enjoyed each element, and the Monday night audience went wild for it.