Theatre review: The Year I Was Gifted
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: The Year I Was Gifted at Sweet Grassmarket (Venue 18), reviewed by Susan Mansfield
Growing up in the slaughterhouse district of Omaha, Nebraska, in the late 1960s, 15-year-old Monica Bauer thinks only of getting away. By a mixture of talent, luck and bare-faced cheek, she talks her way into a place at Interlochen Arts Academy, a prestigious boarding school in Michigan (motto: “Guiding America’s Gifted Youth”).
Bauer, who is now a playwright, tells her own story in this one-woman show: how she manages to find the funds to go to Interlochen, and what happens when she gets there. Thrust into a world so different to the one she came from, she flounders, triumphs and discovers that life is a whole lot more complicated than she bargained for.
Bauer’s play tends to lead the audience by the hand when she could afford to take more risks with structure (summarising the show at the start isn’t necessary, for example). But Bauer is an engaging storyteller, and, in a festival where so many young people are starting out in performing arts, she has something important to say not about the decision to become an artist but about the moment you decide what kind of artist you want to become.
Until 25 August.
More info: The Year I Was Gifted is at Sweet Grassmarket
Originally published in The Scotsman