Listen to my Interview with Denise Dee about her show Rebel Seer and taking real life issues onto the stage. Click on this link to hear it! http://fringereview.co.uk/audio-interviews/san-francisco-fringe/2017/taking-real-life-onto-the-stage-denise-dee-talks-about-developing-her-show-from-experience-with-family-issues-in-rebel-seer-how-i-learned-to-trust-the-voices-in-my-head/
This is just a lovely piece and a lovely performance. The writng and the performance are both so engaging you find yourself immersed from the first sentence. When it was over I looked at my watch and thought “No I’m not ready.” I just fell in love with the little girl and later the teenage narrator, wishing for her, leaning for her, hoping for the best for her. It’s difficult to make a serious subject both funny and endearing, but Denise Dee has done it perfectly. She has a direct, almost deadpan delivery that resonates cleverly with the material. You get the feeling that you are, along with the narrator, looking back at the events of a life with utter bemusement (the way most of us look back at the events of our own lives). There’s no self pity, no condemnation just a representation of all of us standing amidst the chaos of our lives wondering what the hell happened. I am so glad I saw this performance. Give yourself a treat and enjoy this gentle, funny, insightful, charming show.
“There’s no self pity, no condemnation just a representation of all of us standing amidst the chaos of our lives wondering what the hell happened.”
I love that you saw this about my show. People sometimes are afraid to make themselves or a character or a person look bad. I feel like it’s making people one dimensional to not show all sides of them.
I love that you saw that telling the truth about my experience is not condemning nor blaming anyone. Whether it’s because of the people in my show or in spite of them (or both) – I got the courage to tell my truth and hopefully inspire other people to tell their truth.
Denise’s performance was raw and radically authentic. From the moment she ran onto the stage, I felt myself drawn into her world. Denise pulled me in with her natural magnetic force, easing me into the world of her childhood self … then knocked me off my feet—in the best way possible—into pure emotion. Punctuated with moments of humor, I felt what Denise’s childhood self must have felt. It takes real skill as a performer to get an audience to empathize without falling into arms-length sympathy. Denise exhibits this skill. She deftly moves from one scene to the next, ushering the audience from moment to moment until you have glimpsed Truth not only through Denise’s eyes, but also through your own eyes. Denise’s performance leaves you changed in unexpected ways—all for the better.
That’s exactly why I go to the theatre – to be drawn into the performer and writers world. Thrilled and delighted I was able to do this for you!
I didn’t mention in the program that this was my first solo performance ever – because I didn’t want people to give me a break because of it. But to be honest I was afraid if I was going to be able to pull it off.
I’m celebrating that at age 58 I risked doing something scary and new.
Spell binding. Truthful. Speaks to the soul.
Priscilla- All I ever wanted when I was younger was for someone to tell me the truth and stop acting like nothing was wrong. I started writing at the age of 8 in the hopes of helping someone else know they weren’t alone. I hope me speaking and writing my truth gives other people the courage to tell their truth.
Denise’s wit, deadpan style and perfect timing make this show a hit. See it while you can. Sunday Sept 17th is the last show.
Ben, coming from a master of deadpan delivery – that means a lot to me! thank you for making time to see my show.
Not at all. You are a joy to watch and I found your story light hearted as well. I guess that means we get along.
Charming and light hearted. Enjoyed very much the performance and the enthusiasm. Well done.
Karene, You are perhaps the only person who thought Rebel Seer was lighthearted which makes me think we’d get along well. Can’t wait to A Day at the Beach on Friday night!
An overwhelming sense of beauty and triumph, throughout all the pain and obstacles – with a cut-throat honesty that quietly reveals storms of inner turmoil and pain and a raw beautiful being. I loved it !
Denise’s performance was so touching. I was laughing then crying at different points. I saw her as a lost little girl and as a powerful woman.. I saw a battle of wills between the people who were supposed to care and didn’t know how.
It reminded me of the harrowing guilt and pain and shame that has affected me my whole life when I’ve felt obliged to care for others before me..when at each intersection of my life there has had to be a choice and I’ve never felt valuable enough to choose me first..
Rebel Seer- How I Learned to Trust the Voices in my Head is amazing and cathartic, a true story with authentic feelings.
Denise Dee’s performance is a peek into the layers of a human psyche, complete with flaw self-perceptions and innocence, surrounded by the messiness of life and family. She has a frank simplicity to her story, giving the listener only what they need to know and at the same time communicating volumes. I felt the vulnerability of that young 8-year-old all the way to adulthood. Bravo, Denise!
I made at a commitment at a young age to never shy away from the mess. It used to drive my mother nuts when I stood on the front porch yelling “Who cares what the neighbors think?”
I saw the damage that trying to keep up appearances causes. Thank you for seeing the mess and not backing away.
Denise’s show had a momentum that drew me into it. Wanting more. Like a page-turner. Wondering what the future held for that curious child.”
Jane- Page-turner !!! As you know from my show books helped me know I wasn’t alone in the world. Delighted I was able to draw you in!
Denise uses a lot of raw courage to tell the story of her painful childhood. She gives a clear glimpse from a child’s fearful perspective, through an adolescent’s tortured body, and an emotionally confused adult’s mind. She brought the characters to life with all their absurdities and frailties. Her story creates a stark contrast to the ideal all-American family with three kids, a white picket-fence, and a cute little dog. It is not an easy choice to abandon ship without thinking of family, but sometimes it is the only sane one.
I love that you said Raw Courage. I was just teaching my students about facing your fears which to me boils down to having the courage to face yourself. I am so grateful to David Ford who repeatedly told us – We’re not writing to be healthy, we’re writing to get at emotional truth. (I’m paraphrasing that hence no quotes marks) Vulnerability has never been easy for me- so funny that I chose to do my first solo performance ever at 58.
Denise tells her story with such raw vulnerability. There were moments I smiled and silently laughed and moments I felt sad. I loved how she wrapped up the show which brought tears to my eyes.
I loved Denise Dee’s play. From the first lines she drops us into a sort of Kodachrome, 1970s, Pittsburgh-world and keeps us with her wanting to break out. She narrates tense moments with humor and an interesting physicality that engages the watcher. I thoroughly enjoyed “How I Learned to Trust the Voices in My Head”. It’s a fringe must see.
I should say 1960s though it goes into the 70s!
Eric, Your writing is so vivid! Even though it’s my show I’m seeing it through new eyes because of your “Kodachrome Pittsburgh” quote.
What was one of your favorite moments in the show?
Your cutting your hair. I loved that.
Playwright Denise Dee’s solo piece is like a SPOONFUL OF BROKEN GLASS: it sparkles from all angles, it cuts on the way down, and it finds its strength in its fragility. It’s a spellbinding journey from the quiet little girl who notices everything to the mature artist who finds her voice, and encourages us to do the same. Like Dee says, writers don’t choose what to remember and what to forget, and that’s a blessing for the rest of us: the moments she masterfully recreates don’t feel handpicked for effect — instead they impose themselves on her (and on us) by necessity and with a touching authenticity. DON’T MISS THIS SHOW!
Wow! I will now be quoting you on my postcard and program every time I perform Rebel Seer- How I Learned to Trust the Voices in my Head.
I love “spoonful of broken glass.”
My ex-boyfriend Michael Kaniecki (mentioned in the show) and I used to come with up with metaphors for how Polish sounded to us as kids. His was dogs chewing birds.
It was funny for me being in a family where the soft lilt and upward inflection of the Irish side made everything they talked about sound lovely until you realized what they were talking about – shock treatments and other horrors.
On the Polish side it could sound like they were angry because of that loud chewed up – spit out sound of the words. When I went over to Poland I heard it differently.
A bold and brave presentation that also happens to be very enjoyable. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always engaging. Denise’s story is full of life and truth.
I spent much of my life having to fight to say what I saw/felt even when everyone around me was telling me I was imagining it or making it up. What was your favorite moment in the show?
Denise was terrific. Such memory, feeling, and humor wrapped into one…
Beth, You know as well as I do how challenging it can be to write a show that combines dark and light and doesn’t make one “better” than the other. I am committed to telling my story as truthfully as I can. What was your favorite moment in the show?
Such a beautiful piece. Told with heart. And such a great message and example of the influence Fringe can have on someone.
Jaye- It was great hearing you laugh during my Friday night performance. Thank you for writing a review. I look forward to seeing your show A Day At The Beach.
Denise Dee’s solo show plays like the theme music from a Pittsburgh Polish Girl’s cake walk on broken glass to a Punk Rocker emerging out of ocean.
Tina! I love this quote so much. What was your favorite moment of the show?
Denise says in her bio that she “owes her life to 70’s punk rock.” The iconic punk rock film “Debt Begins at 20” featured her band Hans Brinker and the Dykes after which she says “there was no turning back from speaking her truth.” Set in the late 1970s Pittsburgh punk rock scene, Vice Media said of the movie “It’s like finding a weird, punky Dead Sea Scroll. The film follows Bill Bored, drummer of Pittsburgh punk band the Cardboards, as he goes to parties, plays shows, goes to the record store, hangs out in his dingy apartment, and gets with one of the members of girl band the Dykes (who also perform an incredible proto-Riot Grrrl song with a chorus that goes, ‘You’re only two fingers wide! I can’t feel you inside!’).“ https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/avjxgj/debt-begins-at-20
Denise played in the band and wrote lyrics. You can see the whole movie (only about 36 minutes) at https://lux.org.uk/work/debt-begins-at-201 . There’s a big section of The Dykes starting at about minute 15.
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