Molly Scullion wants you to know that she had a wonderful childhood. That’s important to remember, since the subject of I’M OK, ARE YOU OK?, her terrific new solo piece, is trauma. When someone puts the words “childhood” and “trauma” in the same sentence, the result doesn’t usually include idyllic memories of happier times, nor does it conjure many laughs. Yet in Scullion’s skilled hands, you quickly realize you’re in for a journey through the stages of recognition and recovery that’s not only undeniably moving but bitingly funny.
Each trauma is an individual experience, as is each recovery. Scullion calls the unwanted memories that flood her brain an “annoying internal catcaller,” and reminds her audience that although she’s doing exceptionally well, she’s not “fixed.” She may never be. But here, Scullion allows us to glimpse what ongoing recovery can look like, how setbacks can help a person grow and understand her relationship to what she’s experienced, and how someone can feel both protected and betrayed by her own mind. The result isn’t perfect — the 45-minute play ends abruptly, and Scullion has a noticeable habit of casting her eyes to the ground when addressing her audience. Still, her skills as a humorist shine through, and her improv training makes the evening frequently feel exciting and spontaneous.
Some say that the only way out is through. For Molly Scullion, the only way out is through comedy.
[The Adrienne Theatre Mainstage, 2030 Sansom Street]; September 6-10, 2017; http://fringearts.com/event/im-okay-okay/