Written and performed by Joanna Lipari, Activities for Daily Living uses comedic and touching stories from Lipari’s past to convey her rage towards the often-overlooked older generation. This one-woman show is crucial to Fringe-goers as all ages need to be reminded that those of the older generation were once young and have lived and will continue to live full lives.
Lipari, accompanied by an animated film playing on a projector behind her led the audience through her life starting with her experience at the age of four when she rebelled against the nuns at her elementary school, to her present seventy-three-year-old self. Using props in a small-scale theatre production can easily go wrong, alternatively, Lipari’s impeccable timing allowed her performance to run smoothly, easily impressing the audience with her gestures that were perfectly in time with those of the characters in the film behind her.
I was so entranced in the play that I completely forgot it was the tale of Lipari’s life until she returned back to present day. Activities of Daily Living is evidence of Joanna Lipari’s chaotically incredible life. What made her stories so unforgettable is the fact that they were ordinary and highly relatable. Although we aren’t all New Yorkers who trained under the renowned acting teacher Sanford Meisner at the famed Neighbourhood Playhouse, most people have lost their car in a parking garage. This is just one of the relatable moments from Lipari’s life that she chooses to share, her great storytelling skills bringing you on an emotional journey through to this parking garage.
Furthermore, Lipari told more moving stories like how her outlook on life changed after reading Betty Friedan’s ‘The Feminine Mystique’ at the peak of second-wave feminism or, the events that occurred in marriage. These stories were significant in helping Lipari successfully convey her rage towards our somewhat ageist society.
Activities of Daily Living holds the moral lesson that we must remember that senior citizens have had tremendous lives before they gained grey hairs and will continue to do so. They just don’t deserve the constant judgment often put upon them by young people, and Joanna Lipari cleverly carries this lesson throughout her play using nothing but a projected film and her impressive acting skills. I honestly believe that Joanna Lipari’s Activities of Daily Living is one of the best shows at Fringe and is for all ages to enjoy and learn from.
Activities of Daily Living is showing at Gilded Balloon Teviot from 16-29th August at 13:45 (14+).
Image credits: David Burns PR, provided to The Student as press material.