Imagine a theatre company made only of people with mental illness…
It doesn’t sound much fun.
Maybe people flying off the handle at the slightest knock,
weeping and rocking in corners,
Exchanging stories of woe and turmoil.
But actually it’s not like that at all.
“Fake it TIL you make it”
That’s what they say.
So theatre (professional pretending) looked like a promising way to break out of a skin too tight and a world too foggy.
But by the first fortnight I realised
There’s no point faking it when you are among professional fakers.
The expert nodders to questions like “are you okay?”
the unrelenting, all weather, smilers.
And on week two I thought-
I have finally found a safe space.
We sit in circles so there are no sides.
We are a team, an ensemble but most of all friends.
We are equal in value and our ideas don’t just test the water- they sail.
We are thinkers and writers and performers.
We paint pictures people don’t see because they’ve never had to look.
We bring for others the enthusiasm, the confidence and the guts we all feel we lack.
We will try anything.
And when we stand before you, our audience.
We are not mentally ill.
We are experienced
We are creative.
We are building performances from the rubble of the walls we have knocked down.
We are strong.
We are listeners and appreciators
Of the skill and the effort made to get out of the door.
we smile and laugh with each other as a means to say thank you.
Thank you For coming out of the rubble and using the mind you feel smothered by to dance
And to entertain.
For creating a parody for the pain felt inside.
‘Fake it TIL you make it’
But what we have in theatre studio 4?.
Is something that can’t be forged.
it’s a chance to be in the now
We are in the moment.
© Imogen Kate. All rights Reserved.