Do you ever wish you could walk in someone else’s shoes for a day? What about the shoes of someone who has autism? When you attend My Life Through History (An Autistic Man’s Journey) by Dylan Ward, presented by Freshwater Theatre, that’s basically what you’ll get to do for a couple of hours. Ward didn’t necessarily write History as a way to represent everyone on the autism spectrum, but it’s an excellent look into his imagination which is pretty fantastical.
As he leads us through the Stone Age, Medieval Times, and more, we get to see some of the challenges Ward has faced and the resources he uses to help guide him through. His supporting cast of Joel Raney, Sheree Froelich, Matthew Kessen, Joe Wiener, Alison Anderson, Kira Pontiff, and Ben Layne are the perfect team of friends and foes. They play everything from carnivorous dinosaurs to protesting hippies to gladiators, and one never overshadows the other. I’m admittedly not great at noticing the more technical side of theater (perhaps because it’s usual done so well, it fits right in with the show? Let’s go with that.) but the sound design by Scot Moore is just right – not overused but adding lots of extra character to the show.
History never spends too much time focused on one time period but manages to tell a cohesive story that circles back around nicely. Director Ariel Leaf provides the right pace to allow for a great build up at the end, and I don’t want to spoil what happens but it gets especially exciting when the characters all take their pills. No, not those kinds of pills…
When it comes down to it, History is a fun, quirky show and you’ll find yourself very entertained. It’s the perfect way to learn about someone who’s different from you, and you may find that you have things in common that you wouldn’t expect. I really enjoyed this peek into Dylan Ward’s imagination, and it reminds me a little of Asperger’s Are Us. My favorite part of the arts is how creative people are in expressing themselves, and both are excellent examples of showcasing comedy alongside life’s challenges, with a healthy dose of sincerity mixed in. You may experience some things that you might not normally associate with people on the autism spectrum, which is awesome, because just like the rest of the humans that inhabit Earth, no two people are exactly alike.
My Life Through History (An Autistic Man’s Journey) runs through April 15 in conjunction with Freshwater Theatre’s Fringe Throwback, both at The Crane.
Click here to purchase tickets.
To learn more about Dylan, check out this interview.