San Francisco Fringe 2022
I’m standing in the middle of a football stadium full of people.They think they’re here for a Rolling Stones concert, but they’re really here for me and I see in front of me a girl standing on crutches – My First Miracle – I’m gonna make her walk. Adventures in Bipolar Disorder
We are on a bus in Southeast Asia – and there’s a girl – and Bennet Caffee wants to talk to her.
Caffee recounts stories from his life and travels from the perspective of a person with Bipolar Disorder. In this opening scene he uses gestures to show us the bus and his first rapport with Nadia, it’s all very charming, with conversation about work, travel told sincerely and with humor.
The interesting journey takes us into Thailand as he talks about topics such as the exploitation of Hill Tribe women, football, LSD, Bangkok – and Nadia.
Caffee is polished in his delivery with very good timing. He uses gestures and physicality throughout the piece which bring it to life effectively. At times the gestures become superfluous because Caffee’s crafting and spoken word storytelling is enough, and his personable presence is both vulnerable and down to earth.
Random things happen on his travels that have a baring on his life trajectory. All is well for a while and then the vivid story is full of suspense. Is this real or are we on an imaginary odyssey? Emotion tumbles out of Caffee and he suddenly transcends where he stands. We ask ourselves what’s happening – as Caffee asks what is normal?
Stuff happens, events move on seamlessly with good flow and he uses vocal variety to bring out his point of view with astute facial reactions that speak volumes! There’s humor and irony in Caffee’s writing and performance which allows us to react to serious situations naturally, as we learn about his life in this show, which is well received by the audience.
Written and performed by Caffee, the solo performance is developed with David Ford and directed by Mark Kenward. The show is complete and should be performed in the future. Bipolar Disorder is shown from Caffee’s experience and we see the high and low points from a genuine storyteller in a theatrical setting.
At the very end of the show Caffee returns to the stage to give an update, an epilogue of sorts, which was raw and insightful. Sharing his life today with us is brave, informative and generous.