Dread, Terror...and Hair Loss
by Estelle Rosen
Jeff Gandell is a Montreal writer, storyteller, improviser, and teacher. Jeff frequently delivers comedic monologues at events around Montreal in a voice that is disarming, vulnerable, hilarious, and completely unique. He was the winner of the 2013 Words on Waves contest sponsored by CKUT. He hosts Yarn, a monthly comedic storytelling night, in Montreal. The Balding is a race against time, nature, and the terrifying responsibilities of adulthood.
What I’ve tried to get through more than anything else is the genuine vulnerability of a man, a person, a human in his early 20's.
The hair loss thing is an effective trope, I think, to hold the play together, and is a too-little used gem of a comedic device. But though the superstitious connection Jeff makes between hair loss and late virginity is comical, perhaps cartoonish at times, the emotions that lurk beneath them are very real, and not exclusive to this particular situation. Beneath everything, Jeff wants to feel worthwhile, to feel valuable and valued. There is this sense that he is somehow less than everyone else. He neatly categorizes these feelings under “hair loss” and “virginity,” but the implication is that they could just as easily be filed under “overweight,” “not good-looking enough,” “stupid,” or any of the millions of ways humans find to beat themselves up and imagine that they are inferior to everyone else. What I’ve tried to get through more than anything else is the genuine vulnerability of a man, a person, a human in his early 20's.