by Morgan Lindsey Tachco · August 13, 2014
In The Mushroom Cure, comedian and storyteller Adam Strauss brings us along on his quest to cure his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. His anxiety drives both his voracious need for a cure and the thorough detail inherent in his vigilante research for one. After experimenting with every method he can Google, practice, talk through or read about to no avail, he turns to psychedelic drugs. He falls in love with a scientist who helps him through this leg of his journey, which is as hilarious as it is touching.
Just as his OCD is rooted in perfection: finding the perfect shirt, the perfect woman, the perfect MP3 player, the cure must be perfect, too. Strauss’ goal is not simply to ‘get better,’ but to find the absolute cure – he is searching for the dimension at which his humanity becomes one with the universe and cures his illness.
Strauss is a highly intelligent, charming, and absorbing storyteller. “New commentary on an ancient theme,” is how he describes one aspect of a particular trip, and in fact runs through the piece. The obsessive need to control experiences in search of perfection, and in protection of inevitable pain, alters a sense of reality and reason. You can’t trick pain, as it were, no matter your mental state, and even scientifically speaking, perfection is found in imperfection.
Strauss brings us through this story with the dizzying affect of navigating a particularly challenging bout of OCD. Under direction by Jonathan Libman, the audience is taken in and out of his anxious obsession so swiftly – just when you think you’ve got it figured out, he pulls you in again. This isn’t just exciting; it’s comforting, too. It assures us that this story may not have a ‘happy’ ending, but the ending is in fact sitting in front of us. He’s not cured, necessarily, but working on it, and navigating the captivating imperfection inherent in existing.