Darryl Pring’s Obsessive Compulsive Darryl, which plays as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, is a very personal, true-life storytelling about Pring’s struggle with mental illness, that seeks to explore the question that Pring has been asking himself for most of his life: Am I Crazy?
From a theatrical and performance standpoint Pring’s show is very bare-bones. He stands in front of the audience, in a confessional manner, and shares his experiences growing up as an anxious, sometimes paranoid, sensitive child, who becomes a popular high school student, who then, as an adult lives trying to maintain the facade of the teenager he once was, while being haunted by words, thoughts and fears, that have the ability to completely annihilate weeks and months of his life. Pring uses video footage of his family and friends addressing the question of his sanity and also images, on a powerpoint, to illustrate certain aspects of the story.
What is most captivating in this story is how honest Pring is in bringing the audiences into his thought processes, whether its when he’s on a bad acid trip in High School, or having an anxiety attack, Pring isn’t afraid to admit that the way his mind thinks may be different from how society defines “normal.” Pring is a comedian, and there are jokes woven throughout to lighten what can be a somber and even dark subject, but overall the show is much more about sharing a journey from being lost in a mental illness minefield to finding the imperfect, but manageable, light.
There is still such a stigma associated with mental illness, and it’s so often something that people contend with in isolation from others, or, at best, with strangers in therapy groups, and in that way, Pring’s show is very liberating and empowering. It will absolutely strike chords in people, and reinforce that none of us are alone in mental illness, and that is a beautiful thing.
TWISI FRINGE RATING:
Obsessive Compulsive Darryl plays at the Robert Gill Theatre as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival at the following times:
July 08 at 12:15 PM buy tickets
July 09 at 05:45 PM buy tickets
July 10 at 09:45 PM buy tickets
July 11 at 08:45 PM buy tickets