Written and Performed by Mary Guillermin. Developed and Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson.
Part of the Whitefire Theatre’s Solofest 2020
The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, 91423
Mary Guillermin is really something special…and not because she’s English!
As she recounts her life on stage, she holds nothing back. Fearlessly opening herself to the audience as she introduces various characters, all parts of her gorgeous personality, her history and even her future self. All these disparate parts of who she is are guiding her through her journey as she guides us through this story of her life.
Mary has a deep connection to the spiritual and feminine mystic. She has struggled with bipolar all her life, only having it diagnosed after years of bad relationships and breakdowns. Once armed with the knowledge of how she is who she is, instead of relying on the medication so quick to be administered, she developed her own method of controlling her mind, of changing it. Now she teaches this method to others as she passes on her legacy, “pharma free.”
The show isn’t just about that though, since bipolar is just once piece of who Mary is, then it naturally takes up one place in the story, but not every place. Mary’s travels though the world took her on many fascinating journeys. She was a big part of the feminist movement in the early 70s in England and boy did she have some adventures! Mary explains how her manic depressive episodes connected her to higher realms, magical, mystical and filled with ancestral energies. It’s truly fascinating and Mary fills the play with humor and pragmatism and a deep appreciation for her life and her loves.
One love, the biggest, was her late husband Tony Guillermin, the celebrated film director.
Mary incorporates their love story into the performance as she remembers how this man loved her just as she is – her big, beautiful character, her passion and her fire. Mary is a therapist and must have a million more stories than this by now. But this story, of how she became herself is powerful and moving and fierce. Mary is descended from queens, her spiritual ancestors are myths and legends and warriors. You can see how Mary became herself with their blood teaming through her veins.
It’s a lovely show. Funny, heartbreaking, inspiring and a beautiful illustration of a life well lived. The pieces of Mary that become the whole are wonderfully wrought and poignantly portrayed. We truly believe they are Mary, as opposite to each other as they seem. Don’t we all have parts of ourselves that continually contradict? I know I do. Mary makes that okay, great even. She has fought her way through her pain and her depressions and found a life worth loving and protecting and celebrating and sharing.
I’m so glad she has shared it with the world through this wonderful show…Bravo Mary!!
You can find out more about Mary and her practice here: