Written and Performed by Holly Sidell. Directed by Jonathan Fahn
Part of the 2020 Solofest
Whitefire Theatre 13500 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks
“Deconstructing Holly” is a play about loosing everything that we think makes us women.
Holly Sidell had breast cancer and a double mastectomy and she also had Ovarian cancer and a hysterectomy…so isn’t that everything? Fortunately, it is not…but Holly finds this out the hardest way possible. And this is the center of this beautifully written and gorgeously performed show.
You might imagine that this is a dark subject for a solos piece…there are places of sadness and introspection, but somehow her life-changing experiences and her loss are transformed into something far from sorrow. She survived…and more than that she became someone stronger and braver and just more ‘Holly’ and that battle hard won is what inspires her and through this play, us.
This journey is described with candor and a tremendous amount of absolutely brilliant humor, but it’s not played for laughs. The funny is in the real. It’s in the truth and the characters and the unabashed playfulness of Holly herself. She takes on this role of survivor, victor even and acts the pants off it. A gifted storyteller, Holly befriends us, she invites us into this world of goofy yet earnest boyfriends and friends and family far more freaked out than she and connects us to it directly. She weaves the play around us almost, we are beside her on stage as she takes us through surgeries and diagnostics and recoveries and feelings and regrets and reconstructions and deconstructions.
“Deconstructing Holly” is a masterpiece of fervent and deeply honest autobiographical solo work. Holly is mesmerizing on stage, she is measured and bold and artful and wise. Her heart wrenching story is played straight, her fears unfolded and her humor unbridled.
This is tough stuff to talk about. Tougher still to go through. But to talk about it is important, necessary, vital. Holly is the perfect person to show us how it really is. She not only survived she made it into something triumphant, mythical, cerebral and ultimately very entertaining.
We all have stories to tell, some darker than others. Holly’s story is dark but also brilliantly iridescent. Women need to hear stories like this…so do men. What is it that makes us female? Who are we without our lady parts? Can we be ourselves again when we lose them or are we just evolving onto our next true selves?
Becoming ourselves is an everyday metamorphosis isn’t it? Holly Sidell has taken a few more steps than most of us in a shorter amount of time…I am grateful that she wrote about it and gave us this precious glimpse of it and made it as wonderful and hilarious as she did. Bravo!!!