Stephanie Svec was seeking a new normal for years until she realized that normal is whatever she makes it. So, what’s yours?
Finding your own normal, and investigating how years of fear and self-doubt can throw off your sense of how to get there, is Svec’s subject in this short but nicely frank solo performance at the Caos Gallery on F St.
A mental health counselor by day and a performer at pretty much every other hour of the week, Svec has been working long and hard in the area at finding herself through acting, improv, stand-up, directing, writing… as she’ll freely admit, the list goes on and on.
But what matters most? It’s a much harder question to answer than the question of what new gig to pick up next. Because as Svec observes: if you stay really busy, you never fail at any one thing. But you never fully succeed at any one thing either.
Svec’s impulse to make a show out of her existential crisis – and her good work with director Joshua Morgan at shaping the piece into a short but handsome and well-controlled production – is admirable, and one wishes that the show were actually 10-15 minutes longer so that Svec could more fully pursue some deeper truths along the way to answering her questions. We want to hear more!
Which isn’t to say that I tried to be normal once, it didn’t take doesn’t satisfy. Svec finds a nice level of production for her monologue – a few helpful light cues plus some nice soft-spoken use of a microphone help us to climb inside the quieter parts of her brain.
I tried to be normal once, it didn’t take
by Stephanie Svec
at Caos on F
923 F Street NW
Washington, DC, 20004
Details and tickets
And although her little fragments of stories – about being young in school, out at parties and on dates, and talking with her parents on the phone – skip past us like stones on a pond, practically gone the moment they arrive, they’re all arranged in clear service of the points being made. The show overall strikes a nice balance throughout between sober-minded self-analysis and playfully candid confessional.
It’s in these stories that Svec could perhaps expand and go into more detail, but that’s up to her. The thoughtful and entertaining work she makes of this iteration of her show simply encourages one to consider the ways in which she might double-down on this format – funny, self-effacing, and shining with honest intelligence – to keep working toward her own happiness.
As a teaching tool it’s a nicely subtle mode of sharing. And audiences will be eager, I think, to bring their own inner conversations to bear at future showings.