Photo by Jodee Spalding.
As we approached the Glen Morris Theatre for one of the early showings of BAGS: Obsessions of a Hoardaholic, an intense, sinewy man with earbuds jammed in his ears strode across our path, half singing, half screaming. Only when he bypassed the ticket lineup to enter the back door did we realize it was Lee Michael Buckman, actor and writer of the one-man show we were about to see. With energy like that we thought, “This has got to be good.”
Not to be confused with Baggage, BAGS: Obsessions of a Hoardaholic is a guided tour through Buckman’s obsessive compulsions that throughout his life have led him to hoard everything from newspapers to T-shirts of every band he’s been in. The show starts like a therapy session with Buckman asking the audience questions about their obsessive behaviours and ending each one with a rousing, “Raise your hands if this is true!” Not only were hands up, but many shouted out in agreement. With his autobiographical narrative as the overlying structure—which has a few incredibly sad moments but is hilarious for the most part—he intertwines snippets of characters as well as several wistful songs sung in a clear, beautiful voice and accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. Through BAGS, Buckman digs into his past to figure out how he got here, and by doing so he gives us hope that we can too.
BAGS’ last Fringe performance is on Saturday, July 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Glen Morris Theatre.
The Fringe runs until July 12 at various locations around the city. Check back for Torontoist’s daily Fringe coverage throughout the festival.