Fringe Review: ‘My Stroke of Luck’

In My Stroke of Luck, California actress Diane Barnes imparts her own true story of a stroke that, instead of claiming her life, inexorably altered her relationship with her teenage son and herself. Though Barnes is undoubtedly sincere and her effort heartfelt, her performance lacks the requisite power and finesse to elicit in her audience what she must feel within herself.
My Stroke of Luck
Diane Barnes – San Rafael, CA
Venue: Brown
Length: 70 Min
Price: $11 (Disc: FA | FV)
Rating: 7 & Up (Some Adult Situations)
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Recounting a “life-changing event in my brain” from a decade ago, Barnes offers a unique perspective because she herself is a doctor. She even recalls how she took the extraordinary step of, at first, self-diagnosing and eschewing treatment because, knowing the severity of her brain injury, she didn’t want to be a burden to her sons.

“Death looked like a pretty viable alternative,” she says.

Barnes obviously survived and is now at Fringe to discuss the silver linings – both dramatic and comedic – that the event precipitated, and I certainly wish I could be more complimentary. Call me cold, but I felt virtually no emotional attachment to Barnes’ story. Combine the lackluster performance with intrusive blocking and lighting, and some tedious pacing, and I’m afraid I can’t recommend My Stroke of Luck unless you or a family member has experienced a similar event. If you have, you might draw inspiration from Barnes’ resilience and her quest for “mindfulness and inner peace.”

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