At 5:45, Kimleigh Smith walks onto the stage at a decaying storefront known as the Apothecary. She is a stranger to most of us. When she takes her bow an hour later, the Los Angeles actor/ dancer has shared most of the major events in her adult life.
The stage lights come on, and Ms. Smith is a 17-year old cheerleader who has rah-rah’ed her way through high school without experiencing a serious relationship. That’s fine with her: when her time comes, it will come.
But, you know, she’s really in love with a football player named M-I-K-E. Like love, love, love. She follows M-I-K-E around, but lacks the confidence to approach him. Then, by luck, she attends the same college. Throughout their time in college, they go to the same parties, but she doesn’t take the opportunities. Then one night during their senior year, M-I-K-E and his F-R-I-E-N-D-S invite Kimleigh to their dorm room, where they R-A-P-E her.
She suppresses the memory, interpreting the blood running down her leg as an embarrassing period. Soon, she feels numbness in her “girl parts” that starts spreading down to her feet. Frequently she falls on her face, and at times cannot stand. Her problem is diagnosed as being psychosomatic, and she spends the next few years couch surfing. On therapist’s couches, that is.
Under hypnosis, she finally recognizes what has been done to her, and the numbness and falling ends. Life will continue to hound. Not only with disappointment, but also with bad behaviors as she tries to fill what she sees as a yawning pit in her life. This, she concludes, is the Universe’s way of toying with her.
But she has become more than just a “survivor.” She has found the power of a “superhero.” Should the Universe bring all its weight down on her, she welcomes it. She now has the strength to take any shadow that falls upon her, and she will thrive. Totally.
Kimleigh Smith’s story is compelling, but her show only somewhat. The reasons were not obvious at first. No one can deny her courage. Nor can you fault her performance: She performs with the energy of a superhero and the sincerity of a sage.
Yet there seems to be a depth missing in the narrative. Despite her confessions, she is dancing around in her narration as well as her performance. The impression was left, perhaps to no one but a single reviewer, that there is at least one live wire, or many, sewn into the fabric of her life. Possibly she is still too afraid to address it. More likely, she has yet to recognize that it is there. For the wise and humble, age brings understanding. Perhaps, later in her life, she will revisit this work, and with increased insight, it will indeed hold super powers.
T-O-T-A-L-L-Y! has 4 more performances at The Apothecary, 1013 7th Street NW, Washington, DC.
Steve rates this 3 out of 5
Click here for more Fringe reviews