Lisa Gornick's Live Drawing Show

Lisa Gornick’s Live Drawing Show opens with an interesting and inventive premise: using the aid of drawing in real time to tell a story. A camera positioned above her desk, littered with pens, paper and personal artefacts, records Gornick’s hands expertly speeding across the page illustrating the scenes she describes into a microphone. Gornick walks us through a highly personal family history, exploring the extent to which aspects of her identity are reflected in the lives of her parents and grandparents.

The sketchy outlines of a good show were ultimately erased by a lacking stage presence.

Unfortunately, the potential of this original platform was never fully realised as a result of Gornick’s uncomfortable performance. Much of the show’s success depended upon us warming to her and becoming invested in her story. Gornick manifestly failed to establish sufficient rapport with us such that moments which could have been very intimate instead felt a bit like going through the holiday photos of a stranger: uneasily voyeuristic and invasive. Our attention waned and eventually morphed into indifference as in-jokes fell flat and lengthy exposition grew tiring.

This was the culmination of a number of problems with Gornick’s delivery. Lacklustre and inconsistent accents felt artificial and isolating, while attempts at audience interaction better resembled one-sided jibes than opportunities to reciprocate the kind of vulnerability for which the show strived. Above all, Gornick never appeared to be truly confident in the performance space: she hid behind an unrealistic stage persona in the same way that she hid behind the physical barrier of her desk.

Gornick’s skill as a sketch and watercolour artist is clear (indeed, there is an opportunity to purchase the drawings after the show). However, it would have been easier to appreciate this had the projection of the action not been overexposed, making certain colours impossible to see.

The sketchy outlines of a good show were ultimately erased by a lacking stage presence. 

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The Blurb

An intimate whirl of live drawing, video projection, music, storytelling and off-the-cuff comedy, Lisa Gornick’s involving and irreverent performance looks for parallels between her own life and her Grandma Ray, a Jewish Eastender who sometimes went posh. As the story unfurls, secrets are uncovered and a surprise connection unites the two across the generations. With each show resulting in a unique set of drawings for sale, this novel performance takes the art of autobiography in a bold and entertaining direction.

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