Written and performed by Ellyn Daniels
Directed by Desmond Devenish
Ellyn Daniels takes us on a journey through her life in this one-woman show.
Less stand up and more a magnificent and unforgiving monologue, Ellyn gets inside her own psychoses with the audience as her Rorschach test. She pushes the boundaries of what we expect from someone clearly so intelligent and so beautiful, which of course is crazy, everyone has their issues and their burdens and their nightmares, it’s hardly revelatory that she should too.
But I don’t think the point of her sharing her life with us is to solve any deep societal problems or even to fix any of her own. Her history, at least what she exposes of it, is her own, unique and strange and interesting and brave and ultimately totally relatable. Ms Daniels hardly needs our approval, far from it. I think that by putting her specific neuroses out there on stage, in some pretty shocking and surreal ways, is not to prove anything to us, but perhaps just to share, and by sharing to encourage us to look back at what in our own lives has shaped us, good and bad, and to embrace it.
Ms Daniels has a fabulously ironic wit full of truth and a beautiful narrative that flows beguilingly from childhood through adulthood and back again, skimming through what we might find most shocking and landing hard on family and freedom and betrayal. Her life, as are so many of our lives, seems to have been spent as an observer, her anecdotes feel as if in some way she is talking about someone else entirely, while still maintaining an acute intimacy. It’s an astonishing performance. mesmerizing, physical, reflective and tough. I felt as if I knew her in the same way we feel close to a stranger that we have gone through some kind of traumatic experience with, that familiarity forged through a common enemy or being trapped in a lift for a day. Sometimes it’s easier to share our deepest secrets with a stranger.
This is no simple anecdote-driven “funny” show. It’s far more serious than that, in a very funny kind of seriousness that is. We always laugh at the hardest moments, the more under pressure we become the more difficult it is to keep a straight face. Why is that I wonder? Self-preservation perhaps. Ely Daniels' “Emotional Terrorism” is just that - self-preservation in the face of life, in all its intense, terrifying glory. It’s a totally brilliant reflection of the parts of us that we might not want to share…but must.
I highly recommend “Emotional Terrorism,” it’s well worth staying up late for as Ellyn Daniels is a truly original soul…bravo!
The Actors Company (Let Live Theater), 916 North Formosa Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90046
June 4, 9, 10, 15, 18, 24
•Sunday, June 4 at 7 p.m. (preview)
• Friday, June 9 at 11:30 p.m. (opening)
• Saturday, June 10 at 5:30 p.m.
• Thursday, June 15 at 7 p.m.
• Sunday, June 18 at 2:30 p.m.
• Saturday, June 24 at 8:30 p.m.
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