Overall, The ADHD Project was highlighted by Carlyn Rhamey’s wonderful storytelling and ability to be present with the audience. She shared reactions with audience members, and addressed unexpected moments/technical difficulties with grace and humour. Rhamey reminds us that ADHD is not only a medical diagnosis or disability, but that it is personal - a world in and of itself.
The areas which could have been improved upon or better addressed - an acknowledgement of the privilege that comes with having access to resources such as special education, personalized attention, parental support, and even a diagnosis in the first place, as well as an acknowledgement that there can be a variety of experiences of ADHD. Although there are common symptoms and signs, there are also many different ways that ADHD can present itself in children and adults, men and women, and people from different backgrounds.
All in all, a wonderful show and an important topic addressed by a neuro-diverse team of talented and endearing artists.
The ADHD Project by Squirrel Suit Productions is at the False Creek Gym on Granville Island, 6 - 16 September as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Madisen Steele
Click "read more" for the full video transcription.
Madison: Welcome, theatre addicts. My name is Madison Steele. I'm here with my good friend Kate Delorme. We're going to be reviewing the ADHD Project by Squirrel Suit Productions at the False Creek Gym, as a part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
Kate: My first Fringe show of the year.
Madison: Me, too. Fringe! I'm really, really excited to go see this show because I believe and I have believed of a while that I have undiagnosed ADHD and this is something that I kind of found out recently, maybe about a year ago and I've been kind of doing a bunch of research and trying to understand what it is I'm really curious about how they're going to discuss being neuro atypical or just being neuro diverse and what they have to say about it and how my experience is going to kind of compare to that. Yeah. I'm really excited. Kate's excited, too. What are you expecting?
Kate: I don't know what I'm expecting, actually. I haven't read much about it. I like to go into theatres more or less blind. We think a lot of people have undiagnosed ADH, especially aspects of ADHD that maybe a lot of people have that, a lot of things people struggle with are maybe because of that.
Madison: Yes. Definitely. And the other thing that kind of came up in our research about ADHD is that it's harder to diagnose in women and it happens to be a woman, Carlyn Rhamey wrote and is starring in the show. She has ADHD as it appears. I don't know if gender has anything to do with ADHD, but I guess...
Kate: Maybe we'll learn that.
Madison: Maybe we'll learn that. And I guess part of the idea is that symptoms kind of appear more subtly in women supposedly. Like probably what it is depending on how you've been socially conditioned, it might appear differently. I am super interested in this subject. Kate is super interested in this subject. We're really excited to see how it's addressed. Yeah.
Madison: So, we just went and saw the ADHD Project by Carlyn Rhamey. We are officially correcting our pronunciation, actually it's mostly just me, Kate really didn't do anything. Her name is pronounced Carlyn Rhamey. So if we messed that up in the first video, we are here to apologise for that. So the show was really, really interesting. There was definitely stuff that, coming from a perspective of I do have undiagnosed ADHD, I had a different perspective on it than maybe someone who doesn't know about ADHD or definitely doesn't have, so that's kind of where I'm going to be coming from in this review, just to preface it, because it is a bit of a based perspective.
Kate: I really like it a lot. Her performance was really earnest and I don't have ADHD but I related to a lot of her childhood scenarios. She read other report card at one point and it was just like, I was like, yeah, that's what my report card said, too.
Madison: So the way that the show was structured was very anecdotal. So she basically just told a variety of stories about her life and her childhood and what it was like to be diagnosed with ADHD when she was young and how that affected the rest of her life. And so that was, she's an amazing story teller. She was super earnest, that's a really good way to put it, and she has an incredible imagination and the thing that I liked the most about her performance was the she was so connected with the audience. Anytime anything happened, I think someone dropped a water bottle at some point or something like that, and she was just right there with us laughing and acknowledging it and there was no...
Kate: It didn't distract her.
Madison: It didn't distract her. Overall, I think she was an amazing performer. There were some technical difficulties in the show which I think they also handled really well. There was meant to be a projector for the show and it wasn't working.
Kate: I think it just wasn't there.
Madison: Or it just wasn't there.
Kate: I think somebody just didn't deliver the projector.
Madison: Yeah, there were a couple little things that were happening, but overall, you know, they handled it really well. We all were able to laugh about it and yeah, I think they did a really, really good job. I would have liked to have seen more information about what ADHD is in the grander scheme of things. You know, so not just I have ADHD and this is my experience and how I felt, but this is how ADHD is seen in the world and this is how it affects other people, and maybe some anecdotes about, because it sounds like she knows a lot of people who are not technically neuro typical or who are neuro atypical, and I think it would have just been nice to go a little bit deeper and to say these are, maybe more statistics or more just information about the history of ADHD and how it maybe has changed. What do you think?
Kate: It wasn't like a PSA on ADHD, it was her experience. It was her artistic interpretation of her life's story.
Kate: And it does have the ADHD title, so that it's gonna make it more seem like, what is it called? ADHD Project?
Madison: The ADHD Project.
Kate: Yeah, so maybe that's, you're coming in with this idea that it's going to be about ADHD as a thing, and I guess I just saw it as her story.
Madison: Yeah, and it definitely was her story. It sometimes felt like this is the experience of having ADHD, this is the only experience of having ADHD, and I know that that was not how it was meant to come across, but I think just because it was only one telling of one story that that maybe was kind of an impression that I was left with.
Madison: They are now performing the ADHD Project in schools, which is really exciting and cool and it means that kids are going to have more language to be able to talk about neuro diversity and brains that are not typical. I think I guess what I'm trying to say is that this show has weight to it and it is important. I think that there were definitely some things that could have been done better, like acknowledgement of privilege and acknowledgment of a variety of different experiences and like what is disability and how does that exist in the grander scheme of things, but I think it's also super important that this show exists and is happening and is being performed for kids. And for people who don't have ADHD or who've never met someone with ADHD, this show could teach them a lot about what that experience is like and a lot about how someone's brain just might be different and that that doesn't make anybody less human.
Kate: It was extremely entertaining. We were laughing and there was a lot of super relatable moments. We're women of the same age as her.
Madison: True. Yeah, it was like fun 90's references and like little things that you get when you're of an age demographic.
Kate: Yeah, and I just found her as a performer very relatable and very empathetic and right there with the audience and that was really, and like I liked the content. I liked the arc of it and the presentation.
Kate: I liked the use of visuals. I wasn't totally sure that the visuals were necessary, the pacing of the performance was just a little more steppy because of the integration of the visuals. If it was maybe, if was maybe not her operating it, if it was just that something just came up at a certain point, I don't know if that was also because of her technical difficulties, but if it was not her operating, if the visuals just came up, and then they went away and the lights came up and she continued her story, that would have been smoother.
Madison: We don't know if that was how the performance was or if that was because of the technical difficulties.
Kate: Also I want to say about her is that I just wanted to be her friend so bad.I also cried in that show.
Madison: She did cry. Yeah.
Kate: Like multiple times.
Madison: My name is Madison Steele.
Kate: My name is Kate Delorme.
Madison: And we just reviewed the ADHD Project by Squirrel Suit Productions at the False Creek Gym as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival. We feel hashtag blessed. We would love to hear your take on the show. If you have seen the ADHD Project, please comment on this video and let us know what you thought. Maybe you thought that I was totally out to lunch. We also would love it if you subscribed to our Theatre Addicts YouTube channel and check out the website for more upcoming reviews on the 2018 Vancouver Fringe.
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