[NoHo Arts District, CA] – A NoHo Arts theatre review of “Driver’s Seat,” written and performed by Ellie Brelis, and directed by Emily Mikolitch at Theatre 68 Arts Complex, extended through November 20.
I absolutely love solo shows. How anyone has the nerve to stand on a stage for an hour or so and tell their own, usually very personal story is beyond me and I am in awe of the entire process.
However, there are some solo shows that stand apart from the rest. “Driver’s Seat” is one such show. Ellie Brelis performs the story of her OCD ‘crash’ and recovery with electrifying candour.
Ellie has suffered with OCD from childhood. As long as she can remember in fact she has felt debilitated by her condition. She was horribly teased at school, of course, and persistently stymied by her fears of losing her family, or of not being good enough for them to love her. She was plagued by counting and repetition and all the myriad of things that make up this awful condition. A condition which none of us could ever truly understand, being outside looking in. Things really came to a tipping point when covid struck and Ellie’s long-term boyfriend ended their relationship, her beloved grandfather passed away and Ellie felt that she could no longer resist the temptation to end her life.
She called her father and together they went to the hospital where she was able to get checked into a treatment center that saved her life.
This play is that story. But Ellie is not just this part of her story and while she walks us through her life so far, it’s clear for all to see just how incredible and intelligent and wildly funny Ellie Brelis is…regardless of her OCD and perhaps, because of it.
A brilliant performer, full of light and energy and fearlessness, Ellie beautifully describes with vivid and intricate detail her OCD and how it has affected her life and those around her.
She occupies every inch of the stage, dancing, striding, energising the atmosphere, and sharing herself in such an engaging and compelling way we are bound to love her, to admire her and to know how very special she is.
Whatever is going on in that complex and fascinating mind of hers, I can tell you that on stage she has the kind of talent that’s seldom seen. She has that special something, that indefinable quality that has you hanging on her every syllable, watching her every move and wanting more.
In the last couple of years of her life she has learned more and more about herself. She has found her strength and her center and even come out! Yay! Quite a lot for a young woman on the verge of the rest of her life. How incredible it is to witness a flower blooming, a rocket shooting to the stars, a reckoning of a life with so much to share and such a brilliant way to share it. She is deftly directed by Emily Mikolitch.
I see great things for Ellie Brelis. A dazzling future in fact. This excellent show, written with a brave heart and an astute mind is just the beginning, and I can’t wait to see what she does next!
Emily Mikolitch (Director) Gavan Wyrick (Lighting Design), Gabriella Gilman (Costume Design), Charlie Glaudini (Sound Design), Nick Wass (Projection Design).
“Drivers Seat” has been extended through November 20
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm
Theatre 68 Arts Complex
5112 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601