By John Lyle Belden
(Yes, I know the 2017 Fringe Festival is over, but the shows move on to points elsewhere, and sometimes return for limited engagements at the IndyFringe theatre building. And if you have been referred here by a link or blurb — welcome! — read on:)
After beating cancer, Valerie David felt heroic. When cancer returned years later, she had to be superheroic.
But she was angry at having to endure chemotherapy again, and at the changes that treatment would make to her life and her body, especially after exposure to radioactive rays, so her comic-book persona was clear — David (not-Banner) is The (Pink) Hulk!
Being a lymphoma survivor (as Valerie was, in her first found with cancer), I was glad to see that this narrative was about more than breast cancer. However, the fact that the second time was in the breast added a new dimension to her struggle.
The disease not only threatened her life, but how she felt about herself as a woman. Could anyone truly love her or be intimate with her after the disease had taken its toll?
Valerie relates the story of her journey and eventual triumph with frankness and humor — two of the best weapons one can muster against cancer. And most inspiring, she takes on the disease on her own terms: For instance, if she must lose her hair, she sets the date for it to be shorn off and invites her friends to make it a party.
That frankness — about both the disease and the sex life it’s potentially ruining — also makes this a show for mature audiences. But for anyone teenage and up, especially those who know first- or second-hand the difficulties of dealing with cancer, this hero’s journey is equal parts inspirational and fun.
Find The Pink Hulk’s adventures here.