Review Of How Star Wars Saved My Life

12 Dec

StarWarsContributing writer, Tiva Quinn, steps outside of East Van to review an important production that just completed a short run at Performance Works on Granville Island. Although it’s completed, we wish to feature it as it provides valuable information and insight for survivors of sexual abuse.

How Star Wars Saved My Life is intended first and foremost as a cathartic experience for sexual abuse survivors and an awareness-raising piece, but it also succeeds brilliantly as an entertaining one man show. Writer/Performer Nicholas Harrison is a theatre instructor at Capilano College with a lengthy and distinguished history as an actor, writer, director, fight director and stunt performer, so it’s hardly surprising that he knows how to take deeply emotional material and make a good story from it.

The most noticeable thing about all this talent is that when Nick chooses to perform as his younger self, he sells it completely – he takes us through highs and lows of his young life with the full level of joy, fascination, shock and terror that children experience. And when he becomes more withdrawn as he gets older, he makes us feel the reality of being withdrawn and keeping secrets, as well – no small task.

The set was also a very effective piece of this performance, with a minimalist design that works brilliantly for a story where the past and the present are the two most important locations.

The play is often funny, but it’s also quite serious about the work it’s here to do. Each performance is followed by a 15-minute talkback with Don Wright, of the Vancouver Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Noa Rabin of Jericho Counseling, Nick’s therapist. Nick has given Noa permission to share information about their therapy sessions in response to audience questions so that people can learn more about what types of issues come up in therapy for sexual abuse.

In keeping with the spirit of the production to share information and resources with anyone who might need them, I would encourage any survivors who might be interested in this topic to check out Nick’s blog, which covers a lot of the same material. Another organization that provides assistance is the local chapter of Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse who also provide services to trans survivors.

By Contributing Writer Tiva Quinn

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