Now Streaming at Northern Stage: It’s Fine, I’m Fine
The small screen is how we now experience theater. Following a series of live performances at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction, Vermont, Northern Stage is currently streaming It’s Fine, I’m Fine, and will launch a duo of new productions, The Naked Librarian and On The Harmful Effects of Tobacco, later this week.
It’s Fine, I’m Fine is a one-woman autobiographical play written and performed by Stephanie Everett (and directed by Carol Dunne) about a life-changing concussion Everett sustained while playing varsity soccer at the beginning of the season at Dartmouth College, before her “goalie gloves were even grass-stained.” The set is a quadrangle of hard benches that serve as dorm room bed, parent’s kitchen, a therapist’s couch.
Everett’s story unfolds chronologically, and she tells it well. Earlier concussions were, by comparison, less serious affairs that were righted quickly. The final one turned out to be different. Treatments that had worked before proved ineffective in addressing the resultant migraines and deficits in concentration and mental acuity. Everett lost her health, and her then-life’s center as an athlete. She quit the team, and without a regimented schedule, suffered the unfamiliar plague of “free time.”
It’s a challenge to act alone on stage. Everett moves, choreography that evokes her Senegalese mother in the kitchen, her no-eye-contact slouching at her therapist’s office, her pivoting as she presents the therapist and then herself in response. Inventive use of lighting and sound effectively portray her pain.
No doubt It’s Fine, I’m Fine would be a potent vehicle for exploring the prevalence of concussion (according to a show talkback, 3 million cases a year) in recreation and sports, but of course the play is more than that. Doesn’t the title have a ring of familiarity because you’ve heard it so often and maybe said it yourself? It’s our mantra when facing an injury—of any kind—that is too heinous to accept, as well as the story we tell everyone to protect what we’re hiding. The play argues for compassion for others, most of whom are carrying some burden of invisible illness or pain.
As for the small screen? It never replaces the immediacy of live theater, but this production is artfully filmed from more than a single angle, which gives a fresh feel to the performance.
It’s Fine, I’m Fine is available for viewing until November 29. On November 12, Northern Stage will begin streaming two new plays, The Naked Librarian and On The Harmful Effects of Tobacco. For more information, go to Northern Stage’s website.
(Photo by Kata Sasvari)
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Susan B. Apel retired from a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.
Because of your review, I ordered a "ticket" to "It's fine. I'm fine" and was dazzled, saddened, deeply moved by this extraordinary woman's story and talent. Except for the lighting, this show was perfect!