VANCOUVER FRINGE 2022: The Disney Delusion

promo image for The Disney DelusionIt starts off charmingly. In The Disney Delusion, which he describes as “an (unfortunately) true story”, playwright and solo performer Leif Oleson-Cormack describes a romantic misadventure from 2008. Although he had an MFA in playwriting by that time, he had never been laid, partly, he explains, because he lacked the language to understand himself: “I’m bisexual but that had not been invented yet. We just got it for men a couple of weeks ago.” His dilemma (feeling like a fraud with both men and women) is interesting. And you can’t help but feel for Leif when he admits falling for a hunk named Arthur. (Arthur would make out with Leif about every three months and, shortly after that, show up with a new boyfriend. The guy’s a dick. A user. Who hasn’t fallen for one of those?) Undeterred, Leif plans a Disneyland vacation with Arthur. But, as the two characters flew south, so did my interest in their story. It gets sordid — and its viewpoint gets messy. Before they get to Disneyland, Leif and Arthur hit West Hollywood, where, to make Arthur jealous, Leif makes out with two other guys. Then, Leif tells us, when those guys proceed to touch his body, he feels violated — and he was violated. I think Leif was 22 at the time and the two guys were, by his estimation, over 55. So: power imbalance. The guy Leif calls Eyebrow Man has gotten Leif drunk and Leif is making drunk decisions. But there’s an uncomfortable disjuncture: at the same time he’s asserting his past victimhood, present-day Leif is presenting the situation as fundamentally comic and entertaining. There’s an attitude of “I know, right? Wild! Hilarious!” And, as Leif freely admits and uses for comic effect, young Leif was manipulative in his own right: he choreographed his romantic Disney date with Arthur down to the second — and, not that he owed them sex; that’s a whole other issue — he also used the guys he made out with. In a repeated ageist swipe, Leif also ridicules them for their age. It’s mean. Present-day Leif understands that he was naïve; he doesn’t seem to understand that he was also a big of a user, a bit of a dick. So I lost interest in him. Sure, you can be clueless at 22. But I expect more insight from storytelling that takes place 14 years after the events.

At the Vancouver Fringe Festival. Remaining performances at Performance Works: September 11, 3:00 pm; September 12, 7:00 pm; September 13, 4:45 pm; September 15, 7:00 pm; September 17, 1:00 pm. Tickets

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