This is Step One

Jess has it all together… at least that’s what she wants you to think. We are what we remember, and after an accidental and horrifying blast from the past, Jess begins to recount her less than virtuous teen/young adult life. Meet Jess, manic cleaner and recovering *ssh*ole.

May
  1. Sun
  2. Mon
  3. Tue
  4. Wed
  5. Thu
  6. Fri
  7. Sat
  1. 27
    1. 28
      1. 29
        1. 30
          1. 31
            1. 5:00 pm
              This is Step One

              See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2018/05/this-is-step-one/ for details.

              Location: Procunier Hall

          June
          1. Sun
          2. Mon
          3. Tue
          4. Wed
          5. Thu
          6. Fri
          7. Sat
          1. 1
            1. 8:30 pm
              This is Step One

              See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2018/05/this-is-step-one/ for details.

              Location: Procunier Hall

          2. 2
            1. 3
              1. 7:00 pm
                This is Step One

                See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2018/05/this-is-step-one/ for details.

                Location: Procunier Hall

            2. 4
              1. 5
                1. 6
                  1. 7:00 pm
                    This is Step One

                    See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2018/05/this-is-step-one/ for details.

                    Location: Procunier Hall

                2. 7
                  1. 8
                    1. 6:30 pm
                      This is Step One

                      See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2018/05/this-is-step-one/ for details.

                      Location: Procunier Hall

                  2. 9
                    1. 7:30 pm
                      This is Step One

                      See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2018/05/this-is-step-one/ for details.

                      Location: Procunier Hall

                  Location: Procunier Hall

                  Cast

                  Artistic Credits

                  Direction:

                  Stage Manager:

                  5 thoughts on “This is Step One”

                  1. Jeffrey Preston
                    Reviewer
                    says:

                    I really, really wanted to like this show because Jess McAuley is such a gregarious personality on stage but when all is said and done, This Is Step One largely fell short in the crowded autobiography genre that seems to be dominating this year’s Fringe. My biggest frustration is the script seems marred by the “this happened and then this happened and then this happened” linear pathway that felt more like catching up with someone you haven’t seen in a while rather than a complex drama with depth equal to the performer’s ability. The show is unblinkingly honest and wanders into dense serious topics but rarely seems to slow down to actually engage with the gravity of the experiences or draw the audience into the world of the main character beyond the shock factor of the difficult stories shared. Similarly, the ‘cleaning’ motif, the use of AV and the all-too-common ‘love yourself’ culmination of the show all seemed tacked on rather than actually integrated into the story, which left them to awkwardly stand out rather than serve as the story scaffolding I believe they were intended to be. My favourite part, by far, was when the show did slow down (during the climax) to actually work through what was happening and reveal what was happening within the character as opposed to just retelling what was happening around her. More of this could really elevate this show’s story to the level the performer is able to deliver.

                    Kudos to McAuley for bravely telling her story, but I think this one needs a bit more work before it’s ready for the big stage.

                    2.5 / 5 stars

                    1. Nancy Cardew says:

                      I’m going to have to disagree with this review entirely. This is Step One did its job: she took the first steps in admitting a problem and opened up a discussion on rape culture and how we view women’s sexuality and police in punishment. In turn, McAuley punishes herself and turns to cleaning, which (as she says) creates a need to hide away and have a facade. 2.5 stars is extremely harsh. Please go see this show – it is topical, poignant and unapologetic. The “big stage”? Its Fringe. This is Festival is EXACTLY where she needs to be.

                      Go get ‘em Jess. We’re cheering for you.

                  2. Charlene says:

                    I also will disagree with this review.

                    This is Step One is not a show about “loving yourself”. Jess says it herself actually (not a spoiler!), “I don’t believe in that passive-aggressive, mantra-bullshit” (my favourite line because I also don’t believe in that either!); if ANYTHING she talks about forgiveness and closure… like, for real. She actually says THAT. This show is about learning to accept when we’ve been used and abused, and how to stay strong in the face of adversity – gaslighting is a prominent theme, and you can tell it has done a number on her perception of herself. So here are my thoughts:

                    1) The cleaning motif could have been stronger, yes, but it’s interesting because Jess uses adjectives and allusions to cleaning that are subtle enough to catch. Again, could be stronger. So I will give the reviewer that.
                    2) She DOES do, “and this happened”, but it was not repetitive, nor was it often. It’s a coming-of-age story. It can be linear because she’s going to the very back of her closet (which is her life to her early childhood… again, not a spoiler) and coming to her twenties. It’s a storytelling show. She’s obviously going to talk about WHAT’S HAPPENING RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER BECAUSE THESE ARE HER EXPERIENCES WITH ABUSE. Sorry. That is the point of storytelling – it ALL is happening, in reality, now. That’s what makes stories compelling… they’re entirely real, and the character facing them in that moment. Also, she starts out with the classic “Hi, I’m Jess – and I’m a [insert confession here]” just like she did at the showcase. Doesn’t it seem only appropriate to treat it like we’re sitting with her in her living room catching up on her life? She’s confessing and analyzing her past…
                    3) You can feel empathy for her, and it made me think of my own daughter-in-law and how much she’s been through in her own life. I want to send so many women to see this show. Because that’s who this show is for: sexual abuse victims and people that don’t understand the full impact of rape culture.
                    4) When she does slow down (as the reviewer mentioned, one point I will entirely agree with), it’s beautiful. There’s this moment of solidarity, and a breath of fresh air.
                    5) Jess’ stories are quite jarring and not easy to digest. If you’re a survivor of abuse, you will relate. However, I noticed she gave trigger warnings. SMART and much appreciated. It’s bold and brave, and she should be getting more than a kudos. This woman has stepped forward, despite any consequences that could potentially come her way, she’s doing it. There are women that need this show – they need to hear that other women experience these things and that they are valid.

                    Just like Nancy said, GO JESS GO!!!

                    This show is important. It’s needed and it has a place at THIS festival, “the big stage”. And this review simply doesn’t do the show justice – because I sure as heck left feeling like I could kick down a locked and bolted door at Fort Knox BABY!!!

                  3. Clara Madrenas
                    Subscriber
                    says:

                    Full disclosure: Jeff and I are super married BUT I still also disagree with his review. I think This Is Step One was a brutal and raw and vulnerable and vitally important #metoo story, and more than worth your time to go out and see. McAuley was winning, funny and honest…and obviously so, so brave. To each their own and such, but as far as I’m concerned, “go Jess go” indeed!

                  4. Ibrahim Ng says:

                    When performer Jess McAuley steps onstage sharing tales of cheating between two boyfriends and other misadventures, she sets a tone of self-mocking goofiness. But as she delves into stories of prom and her encounters with men go from awkward to invasive, it becomes clear that under every lightweight joke is seething frustration and fury, slowly simmering until it comes to a boil.

                    McAuley is a master of the single-person confessional format, walking through a child’s life experiences with an adult’s perspective and gradually revealing a common thread of abuse and sexual harassment woven through every troubled experience she shares. She finds exactly the right weight for each anecdote, initially assuring the audience that she’s laughing too only to indicate at the midpoint that the laughter is more a security blanket for herself than for others.

                    The only shame is that the video clips and image projections often don’t seem as well timed as McAuley’s jokes. But her performance is effective, carefully transitioning from comedy antics of giving up university ambitions to stick with a lover to a two horrific nights with men who abused her trust, and the shift is so gradual it’s unclear when This is Step One shifted from comedy to comic trauma.

                    There’s an impressive balance in the show where the audience is invited to be amused, and their laughter makes it easier to digest the more disturbing aspects of McAuley’s story. There is a frightening darkness at the core of all these recollections, held at bay in order to allow both performer and audience to function without ignoring injustice, cruelty and worse. And there is a quiet, steady resolve as This is Step One notes that recovering from the bad and the worst is not a large scale event but a series of incremental advancements.

                  Comments are closed.