- Gareth K Vile
- 27 August 2019
A dynamic autobiographical show about healing
Diana Varco's one-woman show certainly breaks the formula of the autobiographical: playing multiple characters, including embodiments of the abstract ideas that shape her experiences, Varco gradually unwinds the anguish and misery that has blighted her adult life. Beginning with a brief romantic history, from kicking her crush in the balls to her first sexual relationship, Varco asks difficult questions about the role of sex and desire in determining the self, and the sense of self.
Although it moves towards a positive finale – after therapy, pole-dancing and shifts from promiscuity to celibacy – Varco becomes reconciled with herself, but discovers the underlying traumas that have been hidden by the noise of the abstract ideas. Shame is always giving it large, security tries to play the umpire, love appears as a ballet-dancer and all the emotions crowd around her to either protect, inspire or undermine her. The frequent attempts to put herself on trial, or the more sensitive sessions with a counsellor depict the tensions that have threatened to destroy her. It is a moving and exacting description of a life fragmented by trauma.
The energy of Varco's performance can become relentless at times, not quite confusing but not allowing enough time for the ideas and themes to fully develop. Refusing to take an easy path to resolution, Shattered is tough and honest, if a little crowded and chaotic. Yet its passion and energy are backed up by a clear awareness of the healing process.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, run ended.