Friday, July 15, 2016

When Thoughts Attack—CoHo Productions—NW Portland

”…What a Web We Weave”

Kelly Kinsella wrote and performs her one-woman show, directed by Padraic Lillis, as part of the SummerFest at CoHo, 2257 NW Raleigh St. (note:  finding parking in this area can be a challenge, so plan your time accordingly), from Thursday, July 14th through Sunday, July 17th at 7:30 pm.  Tickets are $20.  More information on her show can be found on their site at

We all have demons, of one sort or another, and anxieties are a way of manifesting these pests.  But, perhaps, the most powerful enemy of demons/evil, according to Mel Brooks, is laughter.  It exposes them to the outside air and sunlight, which they hate, for they succeed best in the dark recesses of the “windmills of our minds.”  In reality, anxieties are a serious matter but Kinsella has the courage to bring them into the open for all to see, not only as a catharses for herself, but to say to the world/audience, you are not alone in these fears, foibles and frustrations and I can help you lighten the load.  Bravo, Kelly!

She is also in a Medium, the Arts, which is a very safe environment to reveal her inner characters/clowns, for that is her craft and talent.  Remember a time when you were a child and saw the circus?  Remember the act in which a small car circles the ring, then stopped, and a large variety of clowns came from that little auto?  Well, picture yourself as that car and those clowns as parts of yourself, manifesting different faces as needed for different situations and gatherings.  That, in a nutshell, in part, is how an actor creates.  Put this together with the act that Kelly has embodied, and all those unattractive type of clowns of her nature now have a noble cause, which is to give them a name and, if you can’t actually exorcise them, at least you can bring them out of the darkness and “let it all hang out.”

I’ve spent time on how an artist builds a foundation on which they create because that will give you a large clue as to the nature of the show.  She begins by allowing us to envision the process she goes through, coupled with her anxieties, as a stream-of-conscientiousness approach to ordering lunch.  It’s a perfect example of the kinds of thoughts that might “attack” you when you are in any kind of similar situation.  But in her case it’s magnified a hundred-fold because of her anxieties.  She traces some of the frustrations back to her childhood and whether she might have inherited these traits.  As she got older she traveled extensively, never seeming to be rooted to any one spot or individual.  Running away from something, or toward something?!

Many of her fears are real, as she envisions seriously hurting someone (or herself), if she lashes out in anger.  Therapy and medications do not seem to bring any permanent resolve.  But the acting and writing do.  Acting with, and in a strange way, embracing these “clowns” and giving them voice, does seem to be the “music that soothes the savage beast.”  And since she does seem to be a loner, writing is a perfect tool for exposing her demons, as writing is a solitary type of commitment.  And the result is this show.  If you really want to know more about this amazing lady, read my article/interview with her:

To tell too much of the details of her show would ruin it for you.  Also, some of it is interactive with the audience and she does modify her material to connect with places and things unique to the Northwest.  Humor is a powerful weapon and medicine.  She has chosen to embrace those “clowns” within her, as they have steadfastly stood by her side, proving she is not alone in facing this “brave, new world” she has created.  My we all be so lucky…and courageous!

I highly recommend this show.  If you do choose to see it (and you only have this weekend to do that), please tell them Dennis sent you.

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