Inside My Head, Out Of My Mind
17/02/2006 - 25/02/2006
Presented by the VOICE ARTS TRUST in collaboration with the Wellington Youth Service
Being a teenager is hard. What if you’re questioning your sexuality, are consciously anxious or don’t feel safe at home? Three young people tell their moving, painful and humourous real life stories as they learn to say, “I’m different and that’ s OK.”
Theatre , Verbatim ,
1 hr 30 mins, incl. refreshments
Review by John Smythe 30th Mar 2006
There is a wide belief that theatre-as-therapy should stay in the theatre workshop space. On the other hand all creative arts have a therapeutic value for those who engage with them as well as those who make them. Society at large also benefits, mental health-wise, from using the arts to confront its fears and fantasies, question its values, explore its potential for good and bad, and celebrate its very existence.
It’s a judgement call, then, as to when or whether it is appropriate to make therapy-generated work public and whether to charge admission. For me the key is whether the work has private benefits only – in which case public exposure could be self indulgent or exploitative – or has evolved into a contribution to its audience.
Inside my Head, Out of my Mind, simply presented in the round on a circular mat over 35 well-focused minutes, is clearly offered as a contribution. Through the Evolve Wellington Youth Centre, under the guidance of Nicola and Emily Pauling from Voice Arts Trust, three young people (19-22) show and tell, through words and emotional recall, the stories of how ‘Sonny’, ‘Kris’ and ‘Jess’ fell into alcohol and other drug abuse, self-harm, anger, confusion and depression, and how they climbed back out to own their own lives more productively.
The fears and issues they have confronted – sparked by alcoholic/abusive, splitting or just preoccupied parents; sudden changes over which they had no power as children; hormonal changes; questions of sexual orientation, normality and self-esteem – are commonplace, just part of growing up. Shit happens. It’s what we choose to make it mean that matters.
But rational judgement is beside the point when that stuff becomes overwhelming. And while privacy is important, all-too-often the darker sides of human experience are kept private for the wrong reasons. Also too often, society at large only gets interested when it has to defend itself against the antisocial behaviour such circumstances produce.
The collective experience and responsibility aspect is accentuated by the revelation that while each story is authentic, the one who told it is not that person. Except we all are. We are each inextricably part of a whole that can, like each of these individuals, flourish or fail.
On the question of charging admission, not only is Inside my Head, Out of my Mind free with a koha option, they also offer snack food and (non-alcoholic) refreshment in the half-hour run-up to the show. You can’t ask fairer than that.
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer