by Cate Cammarata · August 17, 2014
TALES FROM GERIASSIC PARK: ON THE VERGE OF EXTINCTION is a one-“older”-woman sit-down comedy that explores the experience of aging. Verna Gillis is a music producer turned comedian, an authentic reinvention at age 68 that I find inspiring. Her humorous musings on aging, peeing, death, cancer and pot are uncensored and certainly educational. I learned quite a bit more than I wanted to know about the aging process, at any rate.
Gillis freewheels her audience through thirty minutes of deadpan rambles on her fear of being Jewish, overeating, shopping, family problems, love (she calls it “clitorized,” not “falling in love”), and the devastating toll cancer can take in intimate relationships. Her personality shines through and we glimpse a vibrant soul confused about how her exterior no longer reflects the interior. Illuminating quotes like, “I strive for imperfection; it would be a step up from being totally whacked” and “Do I believe in a higher power? Of course - carbs and marijuana” remind us that our inner light never dims.
Although Gillis relies on cue cards and appears amused when the audience gets her humor, what we see is a cool, hip person “still stoned after all these years.” I think I want to be like Verna when I grow up.