Optimistic: Elizabeth Holmes
Aug 12-16, 18-27 - Zoo Southside
Elizabeth Holmes claims her biotechnology will revolutionise medicine – and people believe her. A single drop of blood, she claims, can be used for up to 800 blood tests. As she defrauds investors of hundreds of millions of dollars and uses her disastrous technology to test real patients, does she think she's doing anything wrong? This devised verbatim play, based on interviews, newly released trial exhibits, text messages, and Holmes's personal notes, asks questions about the gap between appearance and reality as it delves into the mind of the fraudster once considered guaranteed to change the world.
.At the height of her success as an ambitious entrepreneur, Elizabeth Holmes was celebrated as a charismatic and impressive storyteller, but those words belong to Sarah Deller in her incredible one-woman show where she takes on the role of the disgraced biotech CEO.
Over these past few years, people have been captivated by Elizabeth Holmes and her story due to her audacious vision of transforming medical testing overnight, her age and gender for such a successful entrepreneur, and her bizarre public speaking voice which Desser has nailed. Holmes is now serving time for a massive fraud which duped investors like Rupert Murdoch, major corporations, and health agencies with her claims of having developed revolutionary blood testing technology through her company, Theranos, which claimed could perform a wide range of tests using just a few drops of blood, while in reality, the technology was useless.
Since the story broke there have been in-depth podcasts, articles, documentaries and an award-winning television show exploring Holmes and the rise and fall of Theranos. However, I have always been curious about what it would have been like to be in those labs, offices and stages with Holmes as she tried to keep a ten billion house of sand from collapsing.
To spend an hour in the presence of Sarah Deller on stage was the closest insight you could ever possibly hope to get as she adopts a verbatim approach using Holmes and the individuals involved words and testimony exclusively to brilliant effect. On a performance level alone, it is incredible to watch Deller deliver the most detailed of text in a way that could be compared to watching a character in Star Trek explain how the Enterprise operates. Whereas podcasts and television shows drag out the information and chart the journey of Holmes from superstar to prisoner, this condensed approach truly allows you to experience the frantic and chaotic nature of Holmes' downfall.
Deller is a vessel for Holmes as all of her research and preparation allows her to be a host for an hour, and it's not just a case of her quoting Holmes as this becomes a physically demanding role as the anxiety and stress surge through her body. The show becomes immersive as you see every bead of sweat on her head, and you can feel what those moments would be like as Wall Street Journal closed in would've been like for Holmes in her office.
This is the closest you will ever get to being in the room where it happened. What the public and investors saw when Holmes was using the power of her words, Deller can reveal to the audience the true Holmes using her own words and fears. To go and deliver a public presentation on a dud piece of technology or give a TED talk and fool so many people would have been incredibly draining and to get an insight into those private messages and how she was struggling after in the green rooms and offices after is a brilliant counterbalance to all the public footage out there of Holmes in these settings.
Deller's show is a tribute to her incredible research and performance and will leave you with one of the greatest final lines you will hear at any fringe show this year.
Book your tickets here > https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/optimistic-elizabeth-holmes