Reviews, previews and responses by Hampshire College students to live theatrical performances in the Five Colleges and beyond. Originally published 12/10/2015 in Hampshire Reviews
Amy Oestreicher, a belle dressed in a red lace dress with a frayed hem, stood tall on the empty Hampshire stage and expelled her life to me. I walked into the theater with no provisions, no full idea of what was about to happen. Nothing could prepare you for what Amy expelled to us that night. Nothing can perfectly encapsulate the raw emotion and fragile yet fierce heart that is Gutless & Grateful, but I am going to attempt it.
Amy Oestreicher is more than a writer actor, she is a twenty nine year old woman who was immobilized at sixteen because of an unexpected rupture of her stomach. Unable to eat and barely drink for six years, she lent her life to the hands of doctors who were more familiar with her gut than her heart. Amy watched her youth strip from her being because of an illness she had no precaution for. Spending your teenage years, plus some, in a sterile room surrounded by mortality does not empower you, although Amy found a way to make it.
She resorted to journaling as a break from her actuality. Gutless & Grateful is entirely adapted from those journal pages. However, this play is anything but just a “life story.” It is a lesson on how to navigate your traumas in life, and enable your creativity, your happiness. She phrases her traumas as detours. A long route taken to avoid or reach something along the way, a necessary path. Every detour you take in life has a purpose if you give it a purpose. No matter what is happening or may happen, you need to look at it in a positive light, or else you will not be able to venture your ever changing road map.
Amy voices the philosophy she carries through classic musical ballads, Disney songs, and dark humor, for in life, you have to look on the bright side. Relishing in your pain does nothing but force you to remain stagnant. “I hope to shed light on the true power of the human spirit – the strength that is within all of us, and the fierce determined passion we are capable in accessing when we decide to live our best lives.” Amy desires nothing more than to motivate others to understand gratitude of others and themselves. To create yourself a world for your spirit, not your condition.