by David Lally · August 25, 2015
#Ouch!, An Accidental Comedy by actress-writer Maryedith Burrell hurts. It hurts your sides because you will be laughing for a solid hour and ten minutes.
It’s the laughter of recognition. The old “it’s funny because it’s true” cannot be more apt. As anyone who has ever had to go through the experience of dealing with today’s overly-complicated healthcare system knows, when you’re going through it, it’s hell, but it’s comedy gold in the making.
And Miss Burrell mines it for all it’s worth. This is a straightforward solo show. No gimmicks, no character impersonations. Just Maryedith talking to us, confidentially, like our best friend or our Mom would, about her experiences navigating her health coverage after she took a spill in a neighborhood park while out with her dog. From the shenanigans of the firemen, police officers and EMTs (the EMTS win – they have the painkillers) in just trying to get her up off the ground, to the nurses and doctors in the hospital, Miss Burrell takes us down the rabbit hole of our U.S. healthcare system.
It’s not a pretty picture. Everything that you have ever experienced after an injury, from the emergency room to being let go from the hospital early because your insurance plan only covers a limited amount of time, is all here. Your entire life is put on hold to not only deal with the medical crisis, but you have to deal with the lack of any caring in your healthcare. In Miss Burrell’s case, she was told to go home to her three story house, bedroom on the second floor, office on the third floor, and told not to walk for several days before the doctors could schedule her surgery. As Miss Burrell points out, the healthcare system doesn’t allow for you to be alone – “They kept waiting for my husband to come and take me home…”
It’s also filled with sound advice. Don’t make these decisions or find out what your healthcare coverage actually is after something happens and you are hopped up on drugs in the hospital trying to make major life decisions. Miss Burrell teaches us how to be pro-active with our health. The show is filled with pearls of wisdom that only a person who has gone to hell and back can tell you. Miss Burrell has plenty of stories from the front lines, even working as a temp in the Accidental Death and Dismemberment Department of an insurance company.
There are also many sidebars to each story. It’s an actual bar on stage. We laugh, but the information and stories are sobering.
Produced and directed by Steven Samuels, with visual, scenic and sound design by Tommy Cowell, this is a show that could one day actually save your life. Seeing this show should be part of your due diligence before you or a loved one has an emergency medical crisis of your own.