Review by Gail M. Burns
“Moment of Impact is a story of a woman’s journey on a train, and a journey through life. This highly personal story explores self, life, death, and the amazing resiliency of the human spirit. [It] combines theatre, dance, and aerial acrobatics to create an original, humorous, moving, and thought-provoking one-woman show.” – Program note for Moment of Impact
While a little bland and formulaic, the paragraph above gives a succinct precise of Bronwyn Sims’ pithy presentation, except it leaves out the Ibsen. And you have to admire an artist who can cover life, death, train travel, aerial acrobatics, and Ibsen in under an hour.
There is nothing bland or formulaic about Moment of Impact though. Conceived in 2011 and 2012 during residencies at the Celebration Barn Theater in South Paris, Maine, this piece, under the title Lean Back, has had work-in-progress showings at Westover School and Franklin Pierce University. And for Sims and her Strong Coffee Stage Company, it is still in malleable form.
Sims sums up her inspiration thusly in an excerpt from a recent interview: “In 2009…on my way to Yale to do aerial work for the Rep, a boy jumped in front of the train I was on, and committed suicide. The entire day, things were resonating in my head about this boy. The fact that I was going to Yale to teach an actor how to fall for their death in a harness [in a production on Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder]…[I] wanted to explore the idea of blending aerial work into a piece of theater. I wanted to tell the story physically as well as through narrative…It brings up a lot of personal thoughts and things about life. There’s a lot of vulnerability that comes up. The work is really all about stepping into the unknown.”