Big Sister is bold, brave, and beautiful as it explores the relationship between two sisters who are not close, and how the process of creating this show has brought them together. It digs deep into their experiences with beauty standards and expectations through personal stories, anecdotes, and secrets shared with the audience.
In Big Sister, Naomi Vogt performs a one-woman show written by her younger sister, Deborah Vogt about Naomi’s 70-pound weight loss. The dynamic of being performed by Naomi from the words of Deborah is interesting and flows with humour and honesty that is rarely seen onstage. As Naomi reads her sister’s words and comments back with sass and a whole lot of honesty, it is apparent that as the two grew up together their relationship was a little rocky, and maybe it still is.
Naomi performs in an open, casual way that is both funny to watch and approachable. She makes the audience laugh and then suddenly is sharing deep and profound thoughts about her journey of weight loss and how it has affected her life. She says, “I don’t want to want to be beautiful”.
The dynamic between the performer and the playwright, her sister, who sits in the front row of the audience and gets addressed throughout the show is an interesting one. I found myself wanting to hear from the playwright and younger sister at times, but she never responded to Naomi’s questions. Naomi reads letters from her sister that reveal truths about their relationship.
Big Sister is unconventional and a very different form from most shows at the Fringe. The laid-back story-telling and stripped-down proclamations of truth and love between these sisters is powerful and at times deeply moving. This show asks us important questions about identity: how much of who we are is defined by our bodies and how much are we defined by our siblings?
I left the theatre feeling the beauty of this honest show.
As part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival. No further performances.