What it's about.
A woman tries to clean up her life... and I try to feel like a sober person for 2 and half hours.
I've had it with you, St. Ann Warehouse.
How rude of you to be this fu*king good!
I'm feel like every synonym for the word elated after watching this show. I also feel emotionally exhausted, but honestly try seeing this show and not feel like you're on drugs. I should have known what I was getting myself into since the set designer for this play is from the same (insane) mind that created the set for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
This is the queen of set designer herself… Bunny Christie.
Regardless, from the moment I saw that St. Anns had a new play - I had it on my calendar. This show is the perfect example of why this is officially my favorite theatre in NYC. This story was the stuff of my dreams (and nightmares) and as worn out as it left me emotionally, there was also an immense amount of optimism that it gave me. As someone who has struggled with her own psychological issues, I find it difficult to truly connect to something on stage that tries to take a shot at depicting anything that relates to my own experience. This story may appear to initially be about a woman's battle with addiction, but progressively it turned into so much more for me.
Emma (who’s name changes a ton of times) has gone on her last drug binge and it ready for a detox. She mostly just wants a letter for work, clearing her of being a hazard to others. Emma is also not a huge ‘god’ person, and the facility she’s stumbled into has a thing with giving out bibles. In addition to that, it is mandatory to be a part of the group sessions and, you guessed it!, Emma hates people.
I kid (kinda). So, Emma doesn’t even consider herself to be addicted to drugs and alcohol. Which is pretty laughable considering that she nearly overdoses on cocaine at the very start of the play. She is in a constant drunken daze that ultimately gets her fired and she does nothing but self destruct. Emma also doesn’t have the best life set up. Mum is a b*tch and dad is… overly passive about his daughter's life.
That’s something I didn’t expect to care much about - the parents. I was really surprised by the amount of anger that came over me when Emma talks about how shitty it is to be essentially ignored by her parents. Especially given that she needs all the support she can get. It was really until the very end, where we meet her parents, that I started to understand all the frustrations that swallowed this family. Having gone through a similar issue, having a parent who's passive approach to what is an obvious ill person - because they don’t believe in “mental disorders” - I was so happy(?) to see Emma’s explanation of what it’s like to not have control over your life. Any psychological disorder is extremely isolating and is by nature puts the person in a very selfish state of mind. Up until the night of the show I had always dismissed my own parent’s attitude about my problems as ignorance, but I’ve come to realize that it’s pretty shitty of me (and Emma) to do. Being tormented and paranoid within your own mind will make you ignore everything that doesn’t enable negative thoughts. Such as a parent telling you to “get over it”, “just stop being sad”, and my favorite “get your sh*t together”. All true, but hard to actually do.
The disorder is like a hurricane - it simply destroys everything in it’s way. That includes your family. When a parent doesn’t believe what you are going through is real, they basically read what you’re claiming to feel as lies. Emma’s mother doesn’t see Emma’s attempt at recovery as the light at the end of the tunnel, instead it’s false hope and they don’t want to bother with that. It’s a sad truth that hurt a lot to come to realize in the third row surrounded by 100 complete strangers, but there you go.
I’d be here for days writing about all the other things this show does, but I think these picture from the show sum it up nicely:
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