Photo credit: Ryan O'Hara
Step out of your comfort zone
‘Reassembled, Slightly Askew’ unquestionably meets the criteria for art that disturbs the comfortable and comforts the disturbed. The disturbed in this case being those suffering from acquired brain injury. The comfortable being those who have no knowledge of it, wish to have no knowledge of it, or who have knowledge but no real understanding of the experience of it. Until now. Based on the autobiographical experiences of Shannon Yee, ‘Reassembled, Slightly Askew’ offers the audience the chance to immerse themselves in the experience of living inside the head of someone with acquired brain injury. A valuable and memorable experience for those who dare.
Catering to an audience of eight, each member of the audience takes to a hospital bed where, with eye mask and headphones, they experience a sonic overload, like someone conscious trapped inside a coma. At any time they can end the process, but those who remain feel almost childlike in their sense of a being lost in a loud world that’s an alien and sometimes terrifying place to negotiate. The world revolves around you, talks around you, talks about you like you're not really there, or are a child that needs everything explained. As time goes on and Shannon awakes, things improve but don’t really change. People still speak around her as if she's not there, or as if she's a problem to be managed. But Shannon is a fighter and together with her partner is determined to put something of her life, herself and her relationship back together. Even if that means this human Humpty Dumpty undertaking the terrifying ordeal of venturing out for toothpaste alone in an act of hope, affirmation and defiance.
While there is definitely a powerful sense of immersiveness and immediacy in ‘Reassembled, Slightly Askew’s’ coma and operation sequences, the sense of being conscious of physical sensations, such as pin pricks when trying to find a vein, are obviously less successful. But it was never about that, but about getting inside the head of the experience, getting next to the mental and emotional sensations, from the freshness of familiar sounds to the fear your partner might be having an affair. This ‘Reassembled, Slightly Askew’ achieves admirably. It would be a shame if only those with a vested interest in the issue were to attend this production. For 'Reassembled, Slightly Askew’ offers all both humanity and insight, and a completely different theatrical experience.
‘Reassembled, Slightly Askew’ by Shannon Yee, presented by The Complex and S.Sickles runs at The Complex until September 24th
A talk with the artrist takes place aon September 19th at 12.30 at The Complex
For further information, visit Tiger Dublin Fringe or The Complex