Tonight in Seattle:  

A review of Cancer: The Musical (yes, seriously)

The flyers and descriptions for Cancer: The Musical don't hide much -- in fact, they give the whole story away:

You're gonna die. Sorry for your loss. Oh well, let's pretend we're Scientists. How do we, as Scientists, measure Loss scientifically?? And more importantly, where's the punchline? This solo show by Montana von Fliss (Scientist) will ask these questions and using the scientific method, carefully sidestep them. Through the story of caretaking for her dying dad, experience the joyously comedic approach to the ultimate end that is Cancer: The Musical (WARNING: may or may not contain actual musical).

Having driven by a poster in Capitol Hill, my initial query to Google wasn't about going to see the show, per se -- my curiousity was peaked, but at first I was just inquiring as to who had put forth such an appaling concept out into the stratosphere. Upon pushing the search button, however, I had an immediate change of heart and knew I had to get to the first performance I could.

The results were as follows:

A. Apparently Montana von Fliss can, in the eyes of everything I could find about her online, do no theatrical wrong; and
B. If that was the case, and she was the one who had experienced said... experience, that she was probably fit to pull off something this ballsy.

Already sold on the show, I came across the dealmaker -- the byline. In a reduced font that read, simply:

Directed by John Osebold.

Talk about going all-in, without reservation. Having a passion and reverence for all things "Awesome" (of which Osebold is a member, for those not in the know, and a solo artist in his own right under the name Jose Bold) since pretty much the minute I landed in Seattle, I knew immediately that by proxy, this entire experience was going to be nothing short of brilliant. Of course, it takes both the acting of an actor and the sound judgement of a director to pull off a successful performance -- moreso the former -- but I had (and have) 110% confidence that anything any of the members of "Awesome" decide to attach themselves to would (and will, as a rule of sorts) be a hands-down win.

Without giving any of the content of the performance away, all I can say about Cancer: The Musical is that it was absolutely flawless, undeniably human, and that I felt overwhelmingly privileged to be watching the opening performance of something so spectacular. Montana von Fliss was able to resonate every emotion and every intellectual impact of the family-member-turned-primary-caretaker's experience in a way that rang out with each person in the room, had they personal experience with it or not -- with her ability to do so only heightened by the subtle, flawless lighting changes and perfectly-timed cues of every prop and every change. For the bonus round: if you're anything like me, having gone through a something very similar at about the same time in my life that von Fliss did, you're bound to leave this performance so much more than just impressed -- but moreso impressed upon, tattooed, with a new snag in the very fabric of your being.

Yes. I know those are intense adjectives. It's that good.

And so, the ultimate result -- by query, by theory, by proxy, and by good old-fashioned scientific method:

Montana von Fliss + John Osebold = Cancer: The Musical FTW. Now go on and get your tickets before the whole run sells out.

{Cancer: The Musical is running at Washington Ensemble Theater from June 4 through June 21 at 7:30pm, from Thursdays through Mondays. Tickets range from $12 - $18 and are available through Brown Paper Tickets.}

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