Apparently for a while Mierka Girten was known around town as the actress with Multiple Sclerosis. I never knew about it, and I’ve seen her in a number of shows over the past few years. In this one-woman memoir, Girten is sarcastic and self-deprecating as she reveals what life has been like since being diagnosed with M.S. sixteen years ago while a grad student at DePaul. (Her doctor’s announcement is staged as a game show called “Whoops! You’ve Got a Disease.”)
Girten’s life philosophy: “To face my problems head on and ignore them.” I’ve been there, lady. She’s not afraid to make fun of herself (there were some Wet N Wild makeup years in junior high) and she is upfront about her suicide attempt (600 pills, geez).
I don’t know, me-and-my-big-struggle shows tend to feel so clichéd (Larry Grimm directs), but Girten is extremely likable and she’s figured out how to let you in without sucking you dry.
The M.S., by the way, is in remission—though maybe not permanently. Talk about a statement that packs a punch. (Nina Metz)
At A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 North Wells, (312)943-8722 or aredorchidtheatre.org. Fri-Sat 8p, Sun 7p. $20-$25. Through November 2.