Imagine getting dressed one day when you notice a small lump under your arm. It’s probably nothing, but it wouldn’t hurt to have it checked. And when you do, you hear those words no one wants to hear.
“You have breast cancer.”
Chemo Barbie is a one-woman show at the Whitefire Theatre Solofest 2018, written and performed by Heather Keller, under the adroit direction of Jessica Lynn Johnson. The piece takes you on Heather’s journey from cancer diagnosis to her final treatment. You are right there with her, through the grieving process, the disbelief and anger, to the joy and celebration of getting her port removed at last.
The one-hour show moves quickly, but covers a lot of ground. Heather was luckier than many. Her husband Brian was a rock to lean on through the ordeal. Her friends showed their true colors— some stuck by her, while others were unable to handle her illness. Heather chronicled some key events through her vlog, so we could see how much hard work it takes to fight this horrid disease. And fight she did.
Although her portrayal of some of the characters in her story were a bit over the top, it helped the audience distinguish them as individuals. Heather’s energy was tremendous, especially considering what she had been through the last year and a half. She was a runner before the diagnosis, and runs again now, albeit a minute slower than before…
In August, Heather will be bringing Chemo Barbie to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She’s not slowing down, not one bit.
Follow Chemo Barbie on Twitter and Instagram @ Chemo Barbie Show.
Laura Voeth has studied theatre in San Francisco and Los Angeles. She has appeared in film, television and commercials.