A festival where “words come alive”. Roundhouse seems a gloomy space at first, but once you’re seated and waiting for the show to begin, you can’t help to notice that everyone knows everyone in the room. Everyone is chatting and asking one another: “How did your show go?”, “What have you been doing?”, “When is your next performance?”.
“Losing the night” is a sold out event, I hear people say and it’s indeed a full house. Let’s see, I think for myself, the art scene in London is still a big unknown to me.
Anything on your mind, babe?
The opening act was performed by Katie Gill. “Anything on your mind, babe” is witty, hilarious and shatteringly profound. “If nothing in life is guaranteed, then I need something to make it certain”, could be the anthem of the OCD journey. We see a girl who worries about everything: about her family, school, accidents, ghosts and evil creatures. She’s trying to chase away her erratic thoughts by doing every activity four times. “Four is the magic number” which provides a glimpse of certainty in a world full of change. Every problem is turned into a joke, every struggle is turned into a smile and the ending gives hope: OCD can be managed.
Losing the night
“We can’t see the stars anymore because we are losing the darkness”, is the phrase that caught my attention. Are we losing it though? Or are we covering it with sparkly street lamps? “Losing the night”, written by Cecilia Knapp, is a play about two mates who are trying to remember the past, honour it and let it go. Seems almost impossible to achieve, frustrations arise: should we remember him for the good parts or for the bad parts? Should he be forgiven for committing suicide? Is it a selfish act? Should we be angry with ourselves for not being able to forgive? The play tackles mental health issues, the buzzword these days, and for good reason. Everyone is damaged in their own ways and we haven’t mastered yet the art of living peacefully with our demons. Hopefully, we will succeed someday.
The play goes on and asks some difficult questions: Can we save the ones we love? How can we prevent them from hurting themselves? Can we save them without destroying ourselves?
The play ends with a tribute to the long lost friend and brother: painting a tree in purple. By opening up, they manage to move on from their pain and suddenly, the stars can be seen again. Have they accepted the darkness?
Both performances are inspired by the personal stories of the authors. And I’m glad they shared them with us, what is art if not genuine, raw emotion dressed up in nice, Sunday words, words that come alive?
Check out other shows that are happening at the Last Word festival!