“What is your show about?”
I always found myself pausing, what seemed to be way too long for a normal pause, before answering this question.
If I’m honest, I used to dread this question. The fear of not answering “correctly”, of saying the wrong thing or in the case of my current piece Ophelia Rewound, of saying too much.
I could talk about the themes, the aesthetic, the inspiration, but there was always something to the core of the piece that I couldn’t, or perhaps wouldn’t, verbalise.
And there lay the obstacle;
“Keep it secret, keep it safe”.
I grew up in a society, in a culture, in an era, in a (small) town where speaking about mental health was a big no-no! You couldn’t talk about “weakness”, you couldn’t show the cracks, because people would gossip, people would judge.
And for many years I followed that route only to realise one day that by caring too much about what other people thought, I didn’t care enough about myself.
So here I am now. And if the question arises, there’s no more fear.
Ophelia Rewound is about Ophelia but more importantly it is an autobiographical piece. It is about going through heartbreak, falling down a very dark hole, suffering with depression, finding yourself at the edge, being scared and asking for help, but also finding that strength, picking yourself up and putting the pieces back together.
Because that’s what’s the main message of this piece is; to overcome our obstacles, to not be afraid anymore to show the scars and talk about mental health. Because we need to be there for each other, to be able to identify the signs and be ready to offer our hand so, in turn, we can help pick others up.
Ophelia Rewound will be performed at Camden People’s Theatre on 22nd-25th August 2019 as part of the 14th Camden Fringe Festival.