SOLOS Festival and Mainline Theatre (on 3997 Saint-Laurent Boul.) have put together a fantastic line-up of shows this week one of which I caught yesterday, which featured Andrea Stanford’s “Verbal Diary-ah- Confessions of an Awkward teenager”.Verbal Diary-ah actually premiered at the 2011 Montreal Fringe Festival, where it was nominated for the “Just For Laughs Best Comedy Award” and so I was very thrilled to watch Andrea Stanford in person. This was also my first time checking out the Mainline Theatre venue, and I’ll be the first to tell you that it did not disappoint. It has a warm indie vibe, perfect for a show like Verbal Diary-ah.
The title of the show alone speaks volumes about it’s contents. Andrea Stanford takes us on an intimate (and hilariously awkward) journey through time as she addresses her dramatic teenage self, as an adult in her mid-thirties, and shares with us five juicy excerpts from her adolescent diary (what better way to spend a Thursday night!) as she shamelessly reveals to the audience some of her most intimate and dramatic moments from her teenage youth, she paints a vivid and very much relatable picture of what it really means to be a teenage girl.
Instead of gathering around a fire for ‘story time’ the audience gathered around Andrea and her projector, which lent as a visual to go along with her presentation. We saw some re-enactment photos to go along with the stories for extra effect, as well as some actual photos from when she was a teen. It really helped add to the entertainment factor which was a bonus on her part.
Stanford is hilarious and illustrates in her presentation the perpetual teenage struggles of finding yourself, balancing school books and boys, first kisses and misses, losing your V-card, fairytale endings and utter teen madness in general! Andrea is unashamed and brash as she helps us re-live her youth and conveys her innermost thoughts and highlighting moments of her teens, like drinking and partying with friends, and making out with a boy because he told her he was Christian Slater (hilarious.)
It takes a lot of courage to spill your dirtiest secrets to a room full of strangers, but you can’t deny the temptation factor of someone willingly ready to offer up dirty and confidential secrets. You’re essentially inviting someone else into your secret world of thoughts and emotions, which can be very frightening at times. The privilege of being granted access to those entries… it may as well be like a free pass to wonderland. I kept a diary when I was younger too, and I have blown the dust off it before and cringed as I recalled some of the many horrors of my youth. I don’t think I would have the balls to do what she did!
For me, probably the funniest and most mortifying entry she shared was the story of how she lost *GASP* yes folks, her virginity. She travelled out to her sister’s wedding reception and hooked up with a guy under a kitchen table with foam as cushioning. An alcohol induced adventure, she remembers waking up half naked and alone under the kitchen table in a daze.
Hey, she may not have seen the guy again, but at least she got a wicked story out of it – I wonder if he knows he’s the butt of the joke? lol.
While the entries may be mortifying, the stories of tumultuous teenage drama do have a happy ending. Although Andrea may not have been the most attractive or ‘normal’ teenager she gets the last laugh. Her first steady boyfriend ends up being her husband, and she has a beautiful son with him. The conclusion of the evening, as Andrea put it was to “celebrate awkwardness” and to “embrace the mortification” because at the end of the day, while our facebook profiles and twitter pages may portray a slightly more embellished and polished version of who we are, we all have awkward and embarrassing moments… it’s what makes us human beings and this is a message that we can all take away, even if you didn’t see the show.
And that works just fine with me!
Overall, a genuinely enjoyable and fun presentation. Thank you Andrea for reminding us what it is to be flawed and perfectly imperfect, and sharing your entries with us! It was a real treat 🙂
If you’re interesting in checking out some of the upcoming shows that SOLOS festival is bringing to Montreal, you can go to the official Mainline Theater website and purchase tickets, or call (514) 849-3378 to R.S.V.P
Enjoy the festival! 🙂