From Fringe 2018

Always Unique, Totally Interesting, Sometimes Mysterious

Alyson Parovel Productions—PLATFORM Centre

In the middle of a clear space in a pretty warm room, we encounter a young woman rocking back and forth as she sits on the floor surrounded by recycling items. Meet Chloe, a young woman living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is an endearing, charming passionate woman who is extremely excited about recycling, and she begins to tell her story. We also meet her sister, who expresses an enormous range of feelings of living with a sibling who has Autism.

This show got me right in the feels, as they say. It was full of real world scenarios of life in high school and struggling with a condition that is often misunderstood. Alyson Parovel uses a plethora of examples, demonstrations and metaphors to help explain what is going on in the mind of Chloe, which makes it very relatable to viewers who may have no concept of what Autism actually means or looks like.

Some phrases that stuck with me long after the show were how we all had a voice; some of us just have to fight harder to make it heard. And that when meeting someone with Autism, we have only met one person with autism; it manifests and is experienced in different ways with every individual. And for those of us who encounter it in others, what we must do is learn to listen in a different way.

This production was powerful, moving, and educational. She cites a poem called “Welcome to Holland”, a beautiful piece on raising a child with a disability, and it sheds some much needed light when a child is brought into this world who is different. But they are just as smart, clever, funny and passionate as the rest of us can be, just in a different way. It was absolutely beautiful.

Calantha Jensen