Donna Kay Yarborough has been an improv comedian for 25 years and she’s a commanding presence. Taking audiences inside the American health-care system from such a specific perspective—her day job is playing patients for med students in Portland—is brilliant. Some of the jokes and wordplay in the first half of the show—“You’ll feel a little prick”—are too easy, but Yarborough has this Jane Lynch quality to her delivery that makes them more tolerable. What’s infinitely more interesting is Yarborough’s observations about what she and other standardized patients really do: they teach the med students to “speak human again.” This is a show about compassion, humanity, and dignity, and how extreme capitalism is killing people. It’s a timely message for all of us, no matter what our field of practice, and Yarborough does a great job of pivoting from hilarious to heartfelt in the space of a few simple words.
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