From playwright Tom Powell, and Asylum Arts, Surfaced is a dramatic theatrical production that tells the story of Luc (Rosie Gray), a mental health counsellor, and her struggles with her mental health and wellbeing, and how she copes with it all as a mental health counsellor.
We start with Luc holding a therapy session with her patient Owen (Daniel Rainford), who is also experiencing some struggles of his own, which shows in his snappy, somewhat dismissive responses to Luc’s questions about what he is doing to take care of his wellbeing. Initially, this seems like everything is fine on Luc’s side, no? Well, if you thought so, you couldn’t be further from the truth. After Luc heads home, we see her deal with her internal struggles and crippling insecurity and self-doubt, courtesy of the screen projection, before she embarks on a series of endeavours. These involve a lake, a stolen car and some mice, as well as another encounter with Owen.
What stands out about this theatre production is the use of a projector and screen to not just allow the audience to keep track of the dialogue and who is saying what, but also to see what Luc is thinking and feeling inside. This enhanced the experience and added layers to her struggles, as one could gain an insight into what it is like to deal with anxiety and self-doubt. The addition of the talking microwave ‘Dave’ also added to the struggle, providing a source of reassurance for Luc in a way that feels jarring at first, yet you later come to understand its role in the story, and Luc’s internal struggles. All these elements come together to provide a sophisticated, layered and intriguing insight into what it is like to deal with mental health problems and crippling self-doubt.