In Hot Cripple, Hogan Gorman details how, in one tragic moment, she lost everything. Not from the accident that nearly killed her but from the aftermath: a blur of indifferent doctors, lawyers, and government bureaucrats.
Late one night, Gorman was hit by a car. Her head went through the windshield, then she was thrown to the pavement. Rushed to the hospital, she reveals that — as a struggling actor — she doesn't have insurance. Despite severe injuries, the doctors wrap her in a neck brace and send her home. Next to her, someone who'd fainted — but who has insurance — is kept overnight for observation.
Over the following year, Gorman suffers constant pain and even memory loss from swelling related to her head injury. Unable to work, she's forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid, and Social Security. In between are painful medical procedures and drawn-out legal proceedings. Yet she somehow finds a way to laugh about it.
Gorman is a talented storyteller and mimic. Under Isaac Klein's solid direction, she incisively recreates a dozen characters, from her worried Minnesotan mother to a persistent ambulance driver who flirts with her as she lays on a hospital gurney. Some devices — cute nicknames for characters, such as Dr. McBones the chiropractor — are distracting. Otherwise, Gorman brings wonderful levity to a very dark yet real story.
Presented by Hogan Gorman in association with Small Pond Entertainment as part of the New York International Fringe Festival at Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center's Milagro Theatre, 107 Suffolk St., NYC. Aug. 8-24. Remaining performances: Mon., Aug. 11, 4:45 p.m.; Wed., Aug. 13, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 22, 4 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 24, noon. (212) 279-4488 or (866) 468-7619 or www.fringenyc.org.