Justin Purvis’ autobiographical monologue, Hysterical Blindness, is a compelling one. Directed by Daniel Flint and co-created/produced by Chantal Martinaeu, it starts off as largely a comedic improv sketch. This move, which is later explained in the show, personally had me a bit concerned about the direction the performance would take. However, once Mr. Purvis settles into telling his story and sharing his charming personality with the audience, it becomes clear that he does have an interesting story to tell and is an effective story-teller with a natural stage presence.
Justin describes his military, Boy Scouting, church-going upbringing to the audience and then explains how he got interested in theatre (and specifically improv theatre). Throughout the course of nearly 60 minutes (with improv moments thrown in here and there), we learn that Justin is also overcoming and dealing with impending blindness as a result of an eye disease (Choroideremia). He explores how this is (and perhaps will) impact his life and specifically his creative arts career. Though the admittedly personal discussion can become a bit saccharine at times and perhaps slightly self-aggrandizing, it definitely makes for compelling theatre.
For information on and tickets to Hysterical Blindness, visit the show’s Capital Fringe Festival page.