I Found That the Sun Will Rise Tomorrow
by John Stoltenberg
Anna Snapp gives a robust, witty, and protean performance in this genuinely candid and insightful solo theater piece. Self-authored, and based on her own life, I Found That the Sun Will Rise Tomorrow is a poignant and revealing recital of all the debilitating ailments, diagnoses, and painful incidents that her 25-year-old body and mind have known since she was about 19. There are so many, in fact—including autoimmune diseases, infections, suicidal depression, bipolar disorder, trauma-induced eating disorder—that she helpfully lists them for us on a Post-It flip chart.
“Why was my body failing me?” she asks, and after disclosing one hurt and ailment after another, she relates an incident in her past that—the piece strongly suggests—precipitated or aggravated her subsequent breakdown of body and mind. The incident is disturbing, and disturbingly told, and Snapp’s bravery in confronting it is remarkable.
Snapp is a natural mimic who can quickly switch voices and physicalize an array of states of mind and comic types; plus she punctuates the play with some wonderfully punchy set pieces. Early on she talks to the floor, creating a character for it that she depicts with a cartoon voice, then riffs on how the floor is so cold and hard and she hates it even as she collapses on it comically. At another point, after a clever scene with a gastroenterologist (whose name is Dr. Rectil), Snapp delivers a showstoppingly hilarious poem about rectal foam. And near the end Snapp picks up a tennis racket and mimes with it in slow-motion while narrating a hysterically funny satire on antidepressant TV commercials.
David Minton directs a simply staged but effective production. The few pieces of furniture comprising the set include a sheet-draped chair that doubles as a hospital bed. Light shifts create cinematic cross-cutting, and apt and well-timed sound cues are smoothly integrated into the show. Snapp’s narrative switches back and forth in time, which she marks by naming the year a scene or incident occurred. For me that fractured chronology got a little hard to track, but perhaps in a future iteration that confusion will be ironed out.
Snapp’s bio note describes her estimable intention in creating the piece, and speaks of the audience she hopes will find their way to it:
While Anna Snapp has been trained in everything from Shakespeare to the Uta Hagen technique, she wanted to do something unique, create change, engage discussion, and shut down the stigma surrounding mental and physical health problems. So, she wrote about her own struggles with crippling ailments as a way to cope. Out of the writing and rehearsal experience grew a deep acceptance and optimistic mindset for Snapp. Her show is meant to create a voice for people who feel like they can’t speak up about their problems
As Snapp’s agony-upon-agony story unfolds, it helps to be mindful that the title of the piece, I Found That the Sun Will Rise Tomorrow, promises a hopeful ending. Against incredible odds, it’s a promise that Anna Snapp’s performance keeps beautifully.
Running Time: About 55 minutes with no intermission.
I Found That the Sun Will Rise Tomorrow plays through July 20, 2016 at The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, Room A-9 – 901 G Street NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online.
Check other reviews and show previews on DCMetroTheaterArts’ 2016 Capital Fringe Page.