“(Im) Perfekt” — Self Awareness vs Self Appearance

By Ernest Kearney —  Are we the sum of our parts, or our parts themselves?

Can we ever be free to be fully ourselves independent of our features?

Blonde model Jannica Olin developed alopecia in 2013, a condition that hyper-activates one’s autoimmune system to the point where — for reasons science has yet to fathom — one’s hair follicles are targeted; leading to hair loss.

The loss can take various patterns: “alopecia areata barbae” results in the inability to grow a beard, “alopecia areata monolocularis” is limited to one spot on the scalp, “alopecia areata universalis” as the name implies is the loss of all bodily hair and “alopecia areata totalis” which is complete loss of all scalp hair.

In some ways, Ms. Olin’s case was fortunate, in that she was an adult.  Most cases of alopecia, as has been my experience, strike individuals at much younger ages. (1)

Still the effect on her self-image and her career as an actress was traumatic, and she duly takes us through her desperate search for a cure, lamenting,

I just wanted somebody to fix me.”

If her show (Im) Perfekt had fallen into that groove and remained a “poor me pity party,” while it might have been understandable, it would also have been boring.

Instead Ms. Olin takes us on an odyssey involving image, assumptions, judgments and labels, those which others apply to us and those with which we burden ourselves.

Eventually she comes to the realization that her alopecia is not an imperfection, not a disease, not a contagion or an ailment – it is part of her.

It is not a label, it is who she is.

The journey is fascinating, as stories of personal struggles against adversity usually are, but what powers this narrative are both the comedic abilities of Ms. Olin and her brilliance in character portrayal which make (Im) Perfekt not only inspiring, but darn entertaining.Fringe Award-Gold Medal-The TVolution

A GOLD MEDAL.

(Im) Perfekt was directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson.

 


(1) By pure happenstance, I’ve known six people who had alopecia.  The first was in elementary school, a young classmate whose family went to extreme measures to “fix” her, such as a Turkish doctor who serrated her bald scalp with a razor blade and then rubbed a mixture of lemon juice and gunpowder into the incisions.  Needless to say, it was to no avail.


playing during The Fringe

(I’m) Perfekt

Has been Extended for Another Show

Saturday July 20 2019, 5:00 PM | 1hr
Lounge Theatre (Lounge 1)
6201 Santa Monica Boulevard

 

For Extension Information: http://hff19.org/5720

 

For Events, Plays and Other Fun Fringe News and Info: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/


Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. After a wild and misspent youth, which lasted well into middle age, Kearney has settled down and is focusing on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. Ernest’s stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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