By Kelly Luck
Justine Ryan is a remarkable individual, a young woman with obvious gifts whose talents have already taken her to experiences most of us can only imagine. She is also someone who has had to face some serious challenges in her young life, coming from multiple sources both internal and external. In her one-woman show, “Lessons From My Suitcase,” she gives us a frank look into her past and present.
Ryan starts with introducing us to a six-year-old version of herself, brimming with confidence and ambition, but at the same time deathly afraid of her secret being found out. As a young adult, she moves upward, finding her voice and her passion as an actress. She travels the world in a leadership program, even goes to Cambridge...and then it all comes apart and she winds up at home, in her old room, having an anxiety attack and wondering if her life is going anywhere.
There is a certain fashion among persons of a certain mindset to lay at the feet of the millennial generation every failing of the world into which they have been unceremoniously dropped. Ms Ryan’s story should give the lie to such notions, for those willing to listen. She is part of a generation working harder than ever, raised in the panopticon of the Internet, standing at the base of a ladder bereft of rungs. What happens to this generation, and the one that follows, should be of utmost concern to us all. Ms. Ryan has talents to bring to the world, some of which were on display in this fine performance.