Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review: (Vancouver) Medicine

Fear and Addiction
by Jay Catterson

Insights into what causes addictions and our biggest fears are highlighted in the one-man play, Medicine, written and performed by Fringe veteran TJ Dawe and playing at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver. This 80 minute one act play is a deeply personal journey into Dawe's experiences with addictions physician Dr. Gabor Maté. Not only does Dawe reveal his inner demons that haunt him, but recounts his journey to self-discovery via Dr. Maté's therapy retreat involving Peruvian shamanistic ceremonies where participants imbibe the psychotropic plant medicine ayahuasca. 

The play works for the most part, especially with Dawe's ability to build a somewhat lovable rapport with the audience. His tall, lanky stature and awkward demeanor lends itself well to setting up his deeply emotional, and at times heartbreaking, journey into his psyche. Also what was fascinating were his personal accounts of his ayahuasca experience. However, I would have liked him to provide more insight into Dr. Maté, but I guess that's another show altogether. He clearly explained that his use of psychotropics was not an endorsement to do them, but more of a means to understanding where other means prove unsuccessful; quite frankly, I kind of felt these statements were probably added as disclaimers, and personally I felt he was copping out a bit. Whether or not the viewer agrees with the use of such drugs, Medicine is still a fascinating self-recollection of Dawe's internal struggle. Recommended. 

Medicine runs at the Firehall (extended) to February 2

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