While navigating relationships, have you ever found yourself wondering, “Am I the asshole here?“
The hour-long show, performed at the 2019 Vancouver Fringe Festival, is a moving portrayal of what we do for the people we love and for the people we hope love us, too. It begins with the character Julie’s decision to hire a dating coach after years of chasing unavailable women. When she unexpectedly she meets Monica, Julie believes she may have found her ideal girlfriend.
While navigating the ups and downs of a relationship in its early, undetermined stage, Julie invites Monica to meet her cancer-ridden mother. This feels like a fast move to Monica, who repeatedly tells Julie to “slow down” on the drive to her mother’s house. Once there, Julie struggles to deal with her mother’s illness, all while being surprised over Monica’s desire to care for the near stranger.
When Julie has to return to work, Monica’s choice to stay makes it clear that their partnership involved two very different people. After several angry outbursts, Monica accuses Julie of having borderline personality disorder and urges her to sign up for six months of dialectical behavior therapy. The group based treatment cost Julie $1,000 for a month, but Monica promised she wouldn’t see Julie until she’d completed the program. When they reunite, Monica still chooses to view Julie through the lens of her own diagnosis.
In the end, Julie relishes in the quiet triumph of driving fast around the familiar twists and turns along the way to her mother’s house. She recalls a moment before her mother’s death, when she gives her mother permission to let go. It would be like going down a slide. Here she throws her arms up. “Whoosh.”
Gieseke’s performance is authentic, tender, and amusingly smart. Borderline A**hole is a relatable story about love and loss told by a sensitive, passionate character whose imperfections somehow make her even more likable.
See it before September 16, and while it’s in Vancouver, by purchasing tickets here.