Tape by Blown Fuse Theatre is a multi-media theatre piece exploring mental illness and memory disorders. On the back wall of the venue was a projection of a man (Harrison Wate) doing everyday tasks like making coffee and waiting at a bus stop. On the stage itself are two female performers (Michelle Barrington and Elenore Frances) representing the two sides of the brain, left and right. Michelle and Elenore used dance and media to show the chaos going through the man's brain all day, every day.
Everything in the piece was well thought out including the costumes. The girls were dressed in all black with duct tape over their mouth and some words written on duct tape stuck over the costume. These words included: alone, paralysed and faith. These words, along with many others, are revisited throughout and, like some of the quotes spoken in the film, were devised by members of the public in a workshop about attitudes towards mental illness. The piece felt raw and did not shy away from the pain and exhaustion someone with mental illness faces.
The two girls were synchronised and remained focused for the entire 45 minutes and not once were they out of time, even when they could not see the other performer and when the pace sped up. It felt very professional and slick. Whilst the girls were moving all over the space often sporadically, the film in the back contrastingly remained still and calm. I took this as a way of showing how you cannot see mental illness and that someone may be acting 'fine' and 'normal' but inside be battling with their own mind.
Mental illness is still a very taboo topic but more and more, it is being spoken about in tv shows (such as the popular 13 Reasons Why), theatre and music. I particularly liked the abstract nature of the piece and how it all blended into one coherent piece. I think this worked really well especially because mental illness is not rational and does not necessarily make perfect sense.
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