SALT LAKE CITY — Certain shows that you watch at the Fringe Festival in Salt Lake City really know how to get to you. Watch Me Disappear, written and directed by Tami Anderson, is just such a show. With a huge trigger warning about sexual abuse, self-medicating, and cutting, this show follows the story of Aeryn (played masterfully by Pidgin Greer) as she tries to go through a normal life while haunted by the adult abuser of her 10-year-old self. This abuser (played by Jeffrey Owen) is a ghostlike figure who interferes with Aeryn as she tries to interact with her friends, family, and intimate partners.
I found this writing, direction, and acting to be truly impressive in its accuracy. Anyone who has spent time with people who are in the throes of abuse knows the weight that it is on a victim. Even in recovery, abuse can haunt a victim for ages and can be an elephant in the room, as is hinted at in Watch Me Disappear. Greer was able to show the nuance of a survivor trying hard to overcome the challenges that they face while facing the stigma and the fears they struggle with when trying to heal.
The rest of the cast helped to create a very believable dynamic and caring group of relationships, showing the confusion that can happen when people are in the middle of abusive situations. Anderson’s writing was excellent in clarifying that people who cut themselves do not want to die, but are often trying to feel and get past being numb. I applaud the sensitivity and understanding that cast and crew had with this delicate subject matter.