I'm Just Saying

Cecelia Settem
Cecelia Settem
C ARTS | C venues | C digital

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I'm Just Saying

During sessions with her therapist, Cecelia delves into her family and personal history revealing grievances against, well, pretty much anyone—her parents and siblings and people who scoff when she discusses astrology.

I'm Just Saying is classified as a theatrical production but does not sit comfortably in that category. Efforts are made to bring a theatrical aspect to the show. Rather than address the audience in a monologue, Cecelia is in conversation with her therapist and Cecelia Settem (who also writes and directs) plays both parts; the counsellor dressed smartly while Cecelia’s depressed state is suggested by unflattering housecoats. There are snatches of Cecelia awaking from sleep in tears which belie her defiant attitude, but no effort is made to develop these brief scenes in a way that makes a definite point.

There is no overall arc to Cecelia’s story. The episodic nature of the therapy sessions feels like a collection of single observational comedy routines strung together. There are some good lines—cats will worship as a god anyone who gives them food—and observations—some people burn bridges and blame the bridges for catching fire—but the routines are isolated rather than used to build to a conclusion.

There is a long diatribe on what is acceptable as a basic standard for cleaning a bathroom. As part of a stand-up routine this would work well—amusingly showing Cecelia will not let a topic drop until she has exhausted all aspects. But within the play, it does not link into Cecelia’s character; it is not used to, say, indicate she is obsessive about cleaning.

As the nature of Cecelia’s depression is not specified, the play lacks a dramatically satisfying moment in which the cause, and so possibly a solution, are identified. Cecelia carries a lot of resentment against her parents, and it is possible the death of a pet was the tipping point that pushed her into depression but due to the vagueness in the play, it is hard to be sure.

I'm Just Saying, while amusing, does not really work as a dramatic presentation.

Reviewer: David Cunningham