Help Yourself by David Wayne Reed
Good theater inspires reflection, but it’s unusual for a show to bring about self-examination before the curtain comes down. At David Wayne Reed’s original one-act Help Yourself, audience members became participants at a self-actualizing seminar, albeit a satirical one, based on those run by groups in the human-potential movement, such as Erhard Seminars Training (turned Landmark Education). “Do you want to change the ending to your story?” the workshop’s facilitator, played like a showman by Jeff Smith, asked us. “Life gets exciting when you start rewriting!” Reed’s play was selected in 2014 by the Charlotte Street Foundation from its open call for artists, and it was deserving of the nod. Reed’s witty and insightful script was a standout local work, realized through its excellent cast. Fortunately for us, the play’s workshop enrollees, portrayed by Kyle Dyck and Teri Adams, bore the brunt of the facilitator’s scrutiny, but we couldn’t help ruminating on his questions as well. That blurring of the fourth wall drew us in for an unusually personal — and therapeutic — experience.