A superhero, a puppet brain and an Epileptic walk into a bar…
No, there’s no funny punchline here. But there is Lainie Chait and her new show Electro Girl.
Between 3 and 3.5% of Aussies will experience Epilepsy in their lifetime, but very few of us know much about it, let alone how to help someone who is having a seizure. Electro Girl is part show, part stand-up routine, detailing Lainie’s life managing seizures and epilepsy. Initially an autobiography, she has taken her story to the stage with the aim of education, making epilepsy a more understood disorder amongst society.
When making your way up the stairs of the Butterfly Club, the mood is already set. The eclectic mish-mash of vintage decor, fairy lights and Persian rugs makes one feel like they’re at home (in some crazy Brunswick hipster’s house, no less). This venue is the perfect location for all sorts of boutique theatre, especially Lainie’s autobiographical play. It feels like you are stepping not only into her home, but her personal bubble, with the intimate performance space keeping everyone up close and personal at all times.
Lainie is accompanied by her sassy Scottish sidekick Nora, a puppet personification of her brain who helps her through her jam-packed hour of storytelling. Lighting and sound creates a jarring yet fascinating experience for the audience to truly try and understand what seizures are like, as well as helping transport them to different points in Lainie’s life (and different clubs!). She recounts the 4 stages of her coping – avoidance, denial, rebellion and acceptance – embellishing each with a plethora of anecdotes and information about epilepsy sufferers. The words rolled off her tongue easily, a sign of a woman who is truly comfortable sharing these truly intimate and personal parts of her life with a room full of strangers. And for a good cause – the show comes with a free guide to assisting a seizure sufferer, information that the whole audience will take with them in the form of a lovely bookmark. A highlight was definitely being called a wanker in front of the full opening night crowd. A thoroughly enjoyable and insightful performance full of teet-fondling and Roadkill, this show is more than just a performance, but a great educative experience.
Electro Girl is currently playing at The Butterfly Club, Melbourne, until June 2. Tickets are available on the Butterfly Club website. More information about Lainie and her story can be found at her website. You can learn more about Epilepsy at the Epilepsy Action Australia website.