Tuesday, 8 March 2016

THEATRE: Scary Shit by Rhiannon Faith, Pleasance Theatre

A note from Joelle... 
The main reason I go to the theatre so much is because it's a form of escapism. 
It's a place where I can forget about mountains of uni work and everyday stresses for two hours. And, instead, I can really invest in the (often glossy and unrelatable) lives of the characters on stage.
However, on the eve of my 22nd birthday, I decided to book to see Scary Shit at the Pleasance Theatre. I found it on a whim after failing to secure a ticket to see Uncle Vanya at the Almeida. 
The last time I was there, I saw Fresher: The Musical, which was upbeat and everything I expected it would be. 'Scary Shit' is different - very different.
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Maddy Morgan and  Rhiannon Faith
source
I knew the two-hander would be about being a woman and would have some aspects of physical theatre/dance, but NOTHING prepared me for the emotional rollercoaster that came with it.

The show starts with double poncho-clad friends Maddy and Rhiannon defining abnormal fears. The use of pink, fluffy props may lead you to believe that the show will be slapstick and childish, but it's clever. Most are metaphors for something much deeper (e.g. Maddy's balloon covered in knots represents her complicated fertility story).

From the outset, it's clear that Maddy and Rhiannon are quite contrasting characters. Rhiannon is sugary, pleasantly scatty and verbally-expressive, whilst Maddy is somewhat darker, more physically expressive and introverted. They compliment each other well, even though at times it's clear that they can clash - Rhi is quite needy whilst Maddy is very sulky and more quiet.
Audio clips from their real therapy sessions are heard throughout the performance along with tales of losing their virginity (one funny, one not so much...), periods and fertility. The performers are unapologetically honest.
Image: Tina Remiz
It's not a show where the women share their issues and then miraculously resolve them by the end of the performance. It's real. They talk/dance/perform/recite their thoughts to us, the audience as part of their therapy.

Their words, movements, monologues and poems took me to a place that I've never really thought about tapping into before. Am I insecure? Why is that? What makes me a woman? What I a truly scared of? Can this be overcome? Do I have good friends that will support me (and vice versa)? Should I be kinder to myself?

In the final minute of the show, Maddy shared her answer to the latter question. I am still searching for mine.


At the end of the performance, Rhiannon and Maddy stood by the exit and handed out cute little '#ScaryShit' badges.

It was at this point, where I just could not leave without telling saying 'thank you' for performing. For me, it was an honour to sit there for an hour whilst they both poured their hearts, brains and souls out onto that stage.

In all honesty, the show was just as therapeutic for me as it was for the performers. I howled with laughter, shed a tear, covered my mouth, dropped my jaw, leaned forward, leaned backwards - my own little interpretive dance seated in the audience.
I was profoundly moved.

Scary Shit is honest, hilarious, heart-breaking. It's fragile, yet feisty. It's 60 minutes of incredibly beautiful chaos.

Experimental theatre can sound off-putting if you're used to structured Shakespeare or popular musicals, but this is where theatre's real magic lies. There are no rules - it's freedom.

For more info about Scary Shit, click HERE.
I heard on the grapevine that it's coming to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer, so it's one to look out for if you're about!
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