HFF Review: Voices in my Head: A Life
In this Hollywood Fringe Festival one-man show, Bill Ratner delivers a heartfelt and technically skilled story of his life, which is no surprise, considering that he’s a proven talent in the voice acting scene. It was a pleasure to hear him exercise that voice- or the voices in his head, as it were, in his own story. It was also nice to hear how his life came together, and to follow the patterns that necessarily conspire to create an entertaining and successful life. Indeed, some of my favorite bits were when he would speak of the industry, and connections made therein, considering my field- but I think most people like those stories, even if they’re not in the entertainment industry. Such stories are simply fun.
I also liked the theme of the opening story as being personally relatable- the idea that I can remain desensitized and disconnected through so much work, and then I do a story that hits me for some reason- in these moments, I know just what it feels like to be suddenly stricken by paralyzing emotion, enough that one pauses in one’s quest. I can be a warrior for so long- until I turn back into a sensitive human girl.
These things made the show enjoyable for me. Based upon the descriptions alone I do not know if I would have been drawn in, unless I were the kind of fan who seeks out such work, or looking to see Ratner in his own element. It was a fun autobiography, as other fun autobiographies concerning Hollywood that I had seen. I had invested more time and energy in helping another one of these shows, but still partnered with this one to a degree, and saw the parallels- indeed, so many artists could tell our Hollywood stories, and entertain the masses whilst healing them too. If only there were more room for it and more room and funding to work on the art and improve it- but of course, plays like this are as yet mostly labors of love.
If I had one criticism it would be that I would something else to draw me in. That I would want something more than a man’s story about himself, that surely he and others enjoy, and I could too- but what besides that might there be for me? Perhaps it was hidden from my view. What other theme or direction or story might there be? Such were my thoughts, and the thoughts of a fellow autobiographical playwright seeing the play in my company.
The play was picked up for Best of Fringe, August 4th and 18th, 7:30 at The Asylum. Go attend if you’d like a touching story of a man and entertainer.