Posts Tagged ‘depression

26
Jun
15

Fake It ’til You Make It

 

Fake It ‘til You Make It

Brisbane Powerhouse & Theatre Works

Visy Theatre

June 24 – 28 2015

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

3 million Australians are living with depression or anxiety

 

 

Do you wake up in the morning and need help to lift your head?

Do you read obituaries and feel jealous of the dead?

It’s like living on a cliff side, not knowing when you’ll dive.

Do you know? Do you know what it’s like to die alive?

 

 

 

BPH_Fake_it_Til_You_Make_It_1_2015-1178x663

 

 

Most people who think they’re happy haven’t thought about it enough.

– Diana Goodman, Next To Normal

 

 

Meet Bryony and Tim: Bryony is an outrageous, hilarious and fearless performance artist from London; Tim is an outrageous, hilarious and fearless account manager from a top advertising agency.

 

Bryony spends most of her life on tour, trying to change the world. Tim spends most of his life at a desk trying to sell the world. Six months into their relationship, Bryony discovers that Tim suffers from severe clinical depression – a secret he had kept for a very long time.

 

 

BUT WAIT. I HAD NO IDEA THAT THIS WAS BRYONY KIMMINGS WHO DID THE FANNY SONG. OMG. GOLD.

 

 

 

 

BUT THE SHOW.

 

 

The show is designed to get us talking. About depression. About the signs and symptoms and what the hell to do with a person – with ourselves – when the impact of the illness becomes impossible to ignore.

 

 

It’s beautiful, powerful, poignant.

This show should be seen by everyone.

 

 

Now if you didn’t know this already, me and Tim are a real life human being couple, so this unfortunately guys is going to be a love story.

 

We’ve kind of taken out the mundanity of everyday existence for you but what we haven’t been able to cut out is all the darkness because this is a show about clinical depression.

 

 

Bryony Kimmings & Tim Grayburn share some of their most intimate real-life moments. Basically, we’re invited into their living room to listen to their story. They are in their underwear, wearing wicker baskets on their heads, shaking maracas, and dancing and singing to the muzak so, you know, NORMAL. We feel like we know them. We feel like we should have noticed something, said something…

 

BUT THEY HAVE BEEN HIDING AND SINGING AND DANCING IN THEIR UNDERWEAR BENEATH WICKER BASKETS. HOW WERE WE TO KNOW?

 

Unabashedly, they bring us all of the complex, raw emotions – sometimes naturalistically, sometimes symbolically – of Tim’s anxiety and clinical depression, and Bryony’s unwavering love and support for him. At times it’s so incredibly funny, even when it’s sad, that I can only rest my cool glass against my cheek and try not to breathe because if I breathe I might cry, or laugh, at the wrong time.

 

It’s the stuff of millions of people’s lives, trying to make things work, at work and at school and at home, whilst suffering the crippling feelings of chronic depression. And not waving but drowning. We learn about them through mambo. That’s right, The Symptoms of Depression delivered via a SMASH style mambo number. Bryony and Tim dance and hold up pieces of card, with the symptoms written on them in black pen, dazzling their way through fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, sadness, insomnia, guilt and recurrent thoughts of death…faking it ‘til they make it.

 

BPH_Fake_it_Til_You_Make_It_5_2015-1123x663

 

Are we not all living like this? Or, have we not, at some stage or another, lived like this? Imagine how many of us must go through life undiagnosed!

 

72% of people treated for depression are female yet

75% of people that take their own lives are male (Men’s Health Forum)

 

 

I woke up one morning and tears just poured out of my face into my pillow. I couldn’t believe what was going on to be honest. I hadn’t cried for years.

 

Segments from a pre-recorded conversation help to paint the picture of the suffering so many couples share. Not all couples speak so candidly though, and the ultimate lesson is in the reminder that we must always find a way to talk about this stuff.

 

I don’t think, no matter how many shows I do, I’ll be a performer to be honest but I’m not here to perform, that’s Bryony’s job. I’m here to be a real life example of depression.

 

 

BPH_Fake_it_Til_You_Make_It_4_2015-1125x663

 

 

If it was any other illness, I’d be on the internet everyday trying to get better but I didn’t because I was too ashamed to even type it in.

 

I agreed to do this show, in this outfit, dancing around with my mental girlfriend just in case I might help someone like myself.

 

Tim, a “non-performer”, has no direct eye contact with the audience until the end of the show (and after it, of course, when we meet the couple. They are exactly as they seem to be. Gorgeous, genuine, humble). Instead, he wears masks: binoculars, white cotton clouds, a goat’s head, a mass of tangled rope. Wearing clouds when the two meet, Bryony believes he is “sent from heaven”. He’s fun and ambitious and enthusiastic and capable of anything. In the latter garb he is a confused mess of feelings, and reminds me of Scarecrow. And you know I’m not talking about Dorothy’s friend. Horrifying.

 

More disturbingly, appearing with a paper bag over his head, Tim displays no feelings whatsoever. In a heartbreaking one-person-pas-de-deux, Bryony manipulates Tim’s limbs to hold her in an embrace beneath his forlorn looking paper bag head. If there is anyone who doesn’t recognise this precise moment of unresponsiveness, either in themselves or in someone they love, they should be grateful for that.

 

If only I would have spoken about it or felt comfortable to talk about it, it would have been prevented I believe at an earlier stage.

 

I haven’t seen a lot of live theatre about mental illness and depression that actually succeeds in making us feel all the feelings. Fake It ‘til You Make It brilliantly uses basic theatrical storytelling devices to give us insight into the specifics of one couple’s battle, as well as hope for everyone’s struggle. The struggle is real.

 

 

Bryony & tim. April 2014 Photo Credit ©Richard Davenport

Bryony & tim. April 2014
Photo Credit ©Richard Davenport

 

 

This is a “work in progress showing” preceding a special festival edition of the production for Latitude festival. I’m wondering what else Bryony and Tim will do with their story, and will it continue to evolve, as a new little person is welcomed into their world? Bryony states matter-of-factly that they will be speaking openly with their child about Tim’s depression and anxiety. And so the conversation continues.

 

 

Have you ever talked to a child about adult depression? Have you ever had to answer tricky questions like, “Why does my dad act the way he does?” and “What’s going on in Mum’s head when she’s not herself?”

 

 

I’m about to trade a few Brisvegas trips for Noosa trips in another week’s time, for Dream Home rehearsals so I may need to listen to something else to get into the ex-model Colette’s head, but lately I’ve been listening to Next To Normal again (watch the whole thing here. Or check out the archived Twitter performance here).

 

Oscar Theatre Co staged a brilliant production of Next To Normal (2013).

 

Anyway, Chris Kellett came with me to see Fake It ‘til You Make It so I asked him to write a little something something from his POV. I’ll add it when I see it. NO PRESSURE, CHRIS.

 

In the meantime, here’s a rehearsal clip from Oscar’s production of Next To Normal because HOPE.

 

 

 

Update. Chris said: I went in cold. I had no idea what I was in for. I didn’t know a thing about the play and that’s sorta’ how I like it. If I’d known the subject material, I probably would’ve reacted as many of my friends did to Next To Normal. “Oh, that sounds great…nothing like a real bummer for a great night out!” All I’d heard was, “I hear it’s great”. Brilliant! I thought. I’m in!

 

And then I meet Bryony and Tim – baskets covering their heads – singing a song about how 80% of the patients in the GP waiting room have mental illness (80%!). And I find myself smiling. And thinking. Bryony is an obvious performer, comfortable, strong and confident in front of the crowd. Tim is great too, but you can tell he’s new to this; he’s not comfortable, almost shy. But it works.

 

It begins awkwardly, uncomfortably even, I suppose in the same way that a conversation about mental health always starts, but as the show continues it becomes charming, sincere, sweet and tender. You can’t help but fall a little in love with this wonderful pair.

 

They take us on a short journey. We see how the couple deals with the clinical depression that affects them both, one directly, one indirectly (but is anyone ever indirectly affected by their partner’s illness?). We’re given a window into their private lives and we start to appreciate how their struggle has evolved. One of the highlights of the evening was the “under the doona” song sung by Tim as he played guitar.

 

The story is told with honesty. To me, it almost seemed too honest in parts, with my inner cynic saying, “how much of this is real, and how much are they playing the part for effect?” I couldn’t tell you if what I saw was the honest story of these two people, or a story of two people told honestly. And that’s a win in my book. You’ll laugh, you’ll feel; you might shed a tear, but either way you’ll be touched by this. 

 

 

timgrayburn_clouds

 

 

Tim and Bryony are beautiful and tender and relatable.

 

 

Through their eyes we see exactly what it’s like to live with someone who suffers from chronic depression and we also gain insight into that chronic depressive state. The courage and transparency of these artists and their original show earns them a heartfelt standing ovation in Brisbane. The overwhelming feeling in the Visy and afterwards, upstairs over drinks with the artists and Artistic Director of Brisbane Powerhouse, Kris Stewart, is one of solidarity and compassion and HOPE. The same tone needs to continue to be adopted in our conversations about anxiety and depression.

 

 

Without the conversation nothing changes, no one speaks out and the silence is deafening.

 

 

 

 

Extracts from the show taken from Natalie Whiting’s interview for ABC Radio

28
Jun
14

The Effect

 

The Effect

QTC & STC

The GreenHouse Bille Brown Studio

June 7 – July 5 2014

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward 

 

Depression and anxiety are common conditions.

 

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

 

On average, 1 in 6 people – 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men – will experience depression at some stage of their lives.

 

Anxiety is the most common mental condition in Australia. On average, 1 in 4 people – 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men – will experience anxiety.

 

Women are more likely to experience depression and anxiety during pregnancy and the year following birth. Almost 1 in 10 women experience antenatal depression, and 1 in 7 in the postnatal period. Anxiety is likely to be as, or more, common.

 

At least six Australians take their own lives every day.

 

Source: beyondblue.org.au

 

theeffect_qtc

 

 

 

Dee and I have joked about our chemical imbalance; as if it’s a collective thing from which women-who-do-too-much suffer (of course it’s not just the women). When I remember the stats and think of everybody I know I have to wonder…which of us are NOT depressed!?

 

 

Act 1 of Lucy Prebble’s The Effect is upbeat, fun and funny. It doesn’t take long to establish the four characters that tell an amusing and then very moving tale about a highly controversial couple of subjects. Despite everybody being a little too sharply drawn to begin with, it takes just ten minutes for the production to settle and for the characters and their relationships to develop into warm and interesting enough stories. And I love getting not-quite-the-full-story. There is much to establish in the first act – the participants of a clinical drug trial, the trial itself, the clinicians, and the premise – can happiness (and depression) be attributed to an altered chemical state in the brain?

 

By the end of the production there are almost two plays at work, which seems to be a sign (or symptom) of new work. I wish I’d written enough to tell you that from personal experience, but it’s only through seeing the work of other new playwrights that I can safely say we’ve seen before, two tales in one.

 

Act 2 takes a (not entirely unexpectedly intense) turn, challenging us to consider more seriously our choices and the ensuing consequences. It balances dangerously between conversational and preachy tone, with an extended scene between the medical professionals almost giving us too much of the debate, and repetitively so. I notice myself beginning to turn off, tune out and think, “So when is the pedophile thing going to come up? (This is not my spoiler. It’s within a quote in Prebbles’s bio. This marks the first time ever I wish I hadn’t read the program notes before seeing the play). The debate itself is an oldie but a goodie: do we medicate for depression or not? If not, why not? Can we heal ourselves of the epidemic sadness sweeping the world? You could get depressed just thinking about it! Or you could come up with, let’s say, a lucrative online project and collaborate with a popular stationary line. Yes, of course I have the books!

 

 

The space is glossy; so glossy it’s highly reflective and we see ourselves in the sterile black walls. White floors are harsh, cold, and blue shiny chairs offer a false sense of security and a superficial level of calm around the edges. Cruel fluro light is emitted from above and a light box dance floor features below. I’d love to put it into my kitchen (we’ve always danced in the kitchen). But more on lighting later.

 

Eugene Gilfedder, in one of his strongest roles to date, gets the balance just right. He’s the once flirtatious, now serious, always ambitious professional medic turned motivational speaker, Toby (a phone call away from a TED Talk!), and he makes a good case for the sensitive, older, Noah style long-term love interest. If you ever picked up the sequel to The Notebook (no, it’s not a film; you’ll have to read the book), it’s to that Noah I refer, the Noah who quietly, persistently and courageously conspires to reignite his wife’s love for him after many years of a “happy” marriage.

 

texts_theeffect

 

Toby’s foil is Dr James (Angie Milliken), who has endured childhood abuse and feels as if her old flame has done her a rather ironic favour by putting her in charge of the clinical trial of a new super anti-depressant. Her story, I think, is the second tale told and could be more sensitively treated under its own title.

 

Anna McGahan (always gorgeous to see her on stage) and Mark Leonard Winter (bringing gorgeous, lively new energy to this stage) are the unlikely punters who enter into an agreement with the imagined pharmaceutical company Raushen to trial for four weeks, a so-called happiness drug. Winter’s character, Tristan, has done this before – the money the drug companies pay him per trial allows him to travel the world – but for McGahan’s character, Connie, this is the first time, perhaps as some sort of escape or respite. But who is actually on the drug and who is given a placebo or some other concoction? How do we know if the emotions are real or merely the side effects of the drug? And if everybody is happy, in love, does it even matter?

 

What price happiness?

 

The relationship between Connie and Tristan comes across as a warm, immediate and very genuine thing, despite its corny start in the waiting room of the facility they share for the duration of the trial. It’s actually every girl’s worst waiting room nightmare, trapped in a small public space with a random trying to crack onto her. But love – or the effect of the drug – brings them together and we enjoy some lovely early dialogue to establish the attraction and later, a choreographed sex scene that depends as much on its lighting states as its posturing.

 

connieandtristan_theeffect

 

These two handle it well and the scene becomes very cinematic, beautifully so, but it’s still so strange to watch even a slightly dressed sex scene, isn’t it!? I know, I know, what do you do? It kinda’ works!

 

Much of the effect of the drama can be attributed to Sarah Goodes’ astute direction and the collaboration with lighting designer, Ben Hughes, who creates with Designer Renee Mulder, a dream-like version of a hospital nightclub. It exists somewhere between a mental asylum and a sci-fi galaxy government headquarters, ideal in this studio space, especially after relaxing pre-show in the gorgeous, cosy new library area of The GreenHouse. Guy Webster’s soundscape keeps us in a perpetual state of nothingness, or as I like to think, openness, and I love it and loathe it, like Camille’s album. It’s fascinating that not everybody hears it – Dee didn’t until I mentioned it – it’s that inner ear vibration that exists behind everything else and if it’s the wrong pitch (for you) it might override everything else and become seriously irritating. There are times when I blame it for the onset of a migraine, but not this time.

 

As much as I love the fun and vibe (and Veuve) of opening nights, I don’t mind seeing a production a week or so into its run, when all the elements have settled and the actors are well and truly back into storytelling mode, rather than, “Aargh! It’s opening night!” mode. You have until July 5 to catch The Effect before it heads to Sydney and you should, not just for the challenging conversation it will spark during the days following but also, for the private thoughts conjured as you catch yourself in the mirror it holds up to each and every one of us.

 

20
Apr
13

Next To Normal

Next to Normal

Music by Tom Kitt and Book & Lyrics by Brian Yorkey

Oscar Theatre Company

QPAC Cremorne

18th April – 4th May 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

It’s got to be one of our greatest fears, up there with shark attacks, road accidents, plane crashes and public speaking; the prospect of losing our mental faculties has got to be one of the most terrifying things in a lifetime. I’m already terrified of losing my memory. Maybe it’s why I write. Maybe it’s why I Instagram. Maybe it’s why I married Sam (Mr XS has a memory like an elephant, which makes up for mine, which is more comparable to a butterfly with an average life span of seven or so days). Maybe it’s why The Notebook feels so personal and I’m unable to watch it without crying my eyes out and leaving a pot of tea to go cold. EVERY TIME. And we’re not even going to mention Silver Linings Playbook.

 

Theatre is a mirror. And what I see in Next to Normal is a woman who lost control a long time ago. And nothing anybody can do will help her regain it. That’s terrifying.

 

In Australia we know that one in four people suffer from a diagnosed mental health condition. I know; I’ve linked to a source that states it’s one in five (the 2007 ABS figure) but did you know that Sam has a day job in the upper echelons of STEPS Group Australia? He says it’s now one in four. And I believe him. Think about that. That’s somebody you know (or several people you know). Or…it’s you.

 

We also know that the statistics are usually the last we hear of it. Chronic depression and mental illnesses, more often than not, just don’t rate a mention. In fact, there’s an awful lot of discussion about discussing mental illness. We’ve all shared the Facebook meme or re-tweeted somebody’s sensitive plea for greater tolerance, support and understanding of mental illness (R U OK?). Terrific! Great job! Now, where’s our greater tolerance, support and understanding of mental illness?

 

Standing in this room,

Well I wonder what comes now.

I know I have to help her,

But hell if I know how.

And all the times that I’ve been told

The way her illness goes.

The truth of it is no one really knows.

 

– Dan Goodman, Next to Normal

 

The Pulitzer Prize winning Next to Normal boasts an intelligent book, which gives us a glimpse into the simple horrors of living every day in an unstable way, and great insight into what it must feel like to live with a mentally unstable person. The impact on loved ones is horrendous, and the end result of long-term mental illness can be disastrous on several levels.

 

549701_10151373546983379_1584428554_nIf you happened to come across, as I did (nerd alert), the reviews of the original Off-Broadway production in 2008, you might have noticed among them, the Observer’s John Heilpern’s reflection on the show as being “kitschy, twitchy, depressing”. And perhaps it was, in its second life, Off-Broadway before a few (more) rewrites. The greatest challenge of staging any theatrical piece is surely to bring it into a place of relevance for the actors and audience and in this director Emily Gilhome has outdone herself. Resisting the temptation to take certain characters and scenarios completely off the scale of believability, as may have been the case in earlier productions elsewhere, Gilhome gives us a beautifully realised vision. This Next to Normal is astutely directed and unflinchingly lays bare the bones of depression, the breakdown of the family unit, the medical and pharmaceutical shenanigans along the way, and suicide. Mr Heilpern should see this production. It’s disturbing.

 

The bitter brilliance of Next to Normal is that it doesn’t answer any of our questions about mental illness or about the wide range of treatment options available. In fact, it sees us walking away with even more questions. This theatrical piece is in fact a shattered mirror. Can you see something of yourself? Terrifying.

 

On opening night, the opening number (Just Another Day) suffered from a couple of sound and pitch issues, and for me, what came across as unusually (for an opening night) low energy. However, to anyone unfamiliar with the show it was probably fine; a gentle start, as if we had the support band on stage (and the band actually IS on stage and you know I love seeing the band on stage!) to psyche us up and help ease us into a plot that then puts us through the wringer. A tip for anybody who hasn’t yet watched the YouTube clips of other productions of Next to Normal… don’t. See this production first. I’m sure that my early disappointment was only due to my obsession, which I have mentioned in a previous post, with the original Off-Broadway and Broadway productions.

 

Magically, the sound improved after interval, as it so often does at QPAC.

 

Let’s talk about this wonderful, spirited, talented cast. I love the people Oscar is able to bring out of the woodwork. Actually, of course we’ve seen most of them somewhere before but in Oscar’s hands, I suspect we’re seeing much more of that which they’re capable. You’ll notice I have a couple of bones to pick but don’t worry, there’s nothing that takes away from the overall impact of the show; it’s exceptional. Every performer here has taken their role by the throat and given it a good shake before stepping inside the skin of it, almost like the demon in the underrated, unnerving movie Fallen *shivers*

 

Anyway, I have to tell you that my new favourite performer in Brisbane is the insightful Siobhan Kranz, who we saw as Wendla in Oscar’s 2011 production of  Spring Awakening, another Queensland premiere. Unfathomably, Kranz mentions in her bio a desire to forge a career BEHIND THE SCENES in the music industry but I hope this ambition remains unrealised for a good while yet. Sorry, Siobhan. Her Natalie is petulant, resistant and finally forgiving and supportive, the last man standing so to speak, necessarily becoming her father’s rock. A faultless performer in this instance, Kranz is a keeper.

 

Tom Oliver (whose hilarious performance as Ron Weasley in A Very Potter Musical was just SO GOOD) beautifully underplays Natalie’s stoner boyfriend, Henry. These two are perfectly matched and together they proffer a true sense of optimism and the importance of keeping hold of hope, which I’ll come back to later. I know. Bear with me. Make a coffee if you must. Henry was Sam’s favourite character. Or, Oliver was Sam’s favourite performer. He’s not sure and the fact that he is unsure about how to phrase that tells me that Oliver is going to be a fave for many more patrons. I should also mention that his appearance in Next to Normal is in between international engagements so we are lucky to have him for this strictly limited Brisbane season. With his (Hey) duets with Kranz – there are three of them – Oliver takes us safely each time into the relative calm of the eye of the storm, while chaos continues to swirl all around them.

 

 

James Gauci, in a beautifully gauged act of confidence and charisma (we expect nothing less from this performer now) plays both Diana’s doctors. Gauci gets it just right, giving us the perfect blend of scary rock star and genuinely concerned medical professional. There’s a lovely, gentle moment towards the end of the show, when he connects with Dan Goodman, and we see how well he fits the shoes of this second character particularly. And look, I’m just putting it out there; as much as I love to see Brisbane talent stay in Brisbane…what is Gauci still doing in Brisbane?! Let’s hope we see one of my favourite overachievers in front of larger audiences in a bigger city sometime soon. Sure, of course, if that’s what HE wants.

 

Matt Crowley makes an admirable stage debut in the shoes of Gabe Goodman. Crowley’s brightest moments match the bold as brass lighting levels during I’m Alive, his superb duet with Natalie (one of the best numbers of the night, Superman and the Invisible Girl), and in more silvery (ghostly?) tones during Catch Me I’m Falling. His connection with Dan in the final dramatic moments finally brought reluctant tears to my eyes, and it was with Dan that I sympathised most. Chris Kellet’s sensitive, stoic Dan Goodman, the long-suffering husband, is quietly impressive. In the end, it’s his part in I Am the One (Reprise) that should be enough to bring even the toughest husbands and daddies to tears. (I do hope they go, the husbands and daddies…). To see this side of Kellet is a wonderful surprise, and to give due credit to the newcomer, Crowley plays right alongside him, right up to the devastating conclusion. It’s a cruel end, isn’t it? I HATE IT! I HATE THE END! I sobbed uncontrollably the first eight thousand times I listened to the original soundtrack on loop in my car. Let There Be Light is supposed to be the optimistic, uplifting final reminder that “it gets better”. It’s hope. I hope that works for you.

 

Unexpectedly, Alice Barbery’s Diana Goodman, the woman around whose life the story revolves, left me mostly cold. Gilhome mentions in her program notes that casting is 90% of the director’s job and as a director, of course you work with what you have. If this Diana was the best for the role we have to take Gilhome’s word for it. Barbery’s voice is beautiful, and in its lower register, and the quieter moments of contemplation or concern, absolutely perfect for the role. It’s when we get into the middle range that there are just a couple of problems with the placement, pitch and power of delivery. It’s just that it’s a thinner, more classical sound than one might expect to hear in the context, both in terms of the hardcore content and the soft-rock style of the show.

 

In spite of my harsh assessment, Barbery has an incredibly clear sense of character and she works hard to give us plenty of insight into Diana’s crippling inner battle. Hers is a frantic, busy, utterly confused and eternally wounded woman, and considering the scale and complexity of the role, Barbery gives an awesome performance. To be too critical seems unfair.

 

547534_10152771545950118_7075640_nThe production is nicely staged – it looks sublime – but the design consists of an upper level that lies too far above us and away from us, distancing me more than I would have liked from the intensity of the action and emotion. I was prepared to be in the room with these desperate people, yes indeed, with Gabe in his Off-Broadway-referenced shirtless bathroom moment (of course you know that when the show moved to Broadway Aaron Tveit inexplicably kept his shirt on. Perhaps the producers feared a storming of the stage). Overall, I liked the solid design (Timothy Wallace) but it felt like it wanted more space, and seemed better suited to a venue such as the Playhouse, while the show itself rightly belongs in the intimacy of a space like the Cremorne.

 

It’s hard work to sit through this show (and possibly to read to the end of this review!); it’s emotionally draining. But it’s worth it. Act 1 boasts so many lovely, funny, quirky moments; they are mostly Natalie’s acerbic observations, thanks to Kranz’s characterisation and comic timing, and Diana’s one-liners, delivered deadpan by Barbery and clearly tickling the fancy of not just this housewife and mother. On opening night the giggles abounded!

 

18817_238549776284210_1902762120_n-1

With Emily Integrity and Humility Gilhome at the helm, Oscar Theatre Company always put on a slick show (she does slick so well). In Next to Normal we see the bar raised once again with superb staging, exquisite attention to detail (check out the medicine bottle labels!), a lighting design that completely supports the story and the characters’ journeys, AND manages to rival that of the Broadway production (Jason Glenwright), a top notch band and MD (David Law), and a combined creative effort that must make a number of aspiring theatre makers think, “THAT is the kind of theatre I want to make!” …or run for the hills. Just saying.

 

There have been times when we’ve worried that maybe we wouldn’t see Oscar again but I think we can safely say now that this dynamic, determined company is here to stay, thanks to the dedicated creative team at its core, the crowd of loyal followers and investors, and the support of QPAC.

 

If you love good theatre it’s easy to follow suit and support them. Buy the tickets. See the show. Tell your friends, tell your family and tell your friendly local barista that they can’t afford to miss Oscar’s Next to Normal. Its impact is long lasting, and the unanswered questions will keep you thinking, talking and feeling deeply for a lifetime, but it’s a short season so be super quick to book because social media is already well on the way to making this show a sell-out!

 

A Social Media Note Courtesy of our good friend Wiki:

 

Twitter (2009)

 

In May 2009, about six weeks into the Broadway Production, Next to Normal began publishing an adapted version of the show over Twitter, a social media network. Over 35 days, the serialized version of the show was published in the form of tweets, short messages utilized by Twitter, a single line from a character at a time. The Twitter performance ended the morning of June 7, 2009, the morning of the 2009 Tony Awards. The initiative earned the musical the 2009 OMMA Award for Best in Show Situation Interactive.