Like Dreaming Backwards, a play by Kellie Powell is a dark and heavy play exploring one girl’s struggle against Depressive Psychosis and how it affects the people around her.
Nell hears the voices of people she knows in her head urging her toward suicide and the audience also hears from people who are profoundly affected by her choice to take her own life. I liked being rooted inside Nell, to hear the same damning voices and to see the tricks that they play on her attempts at resistance, masking themselves as her conscience and her own inner voice. I would love to see Powell play more with these characters, giving them more specificity and depth, as well as higher stakes and, perhaps, a more menacing and terrifying quality.
Lisa Davison gives a compelling performance as the tortured Nell. She is beaten down from the beginning and the grains of hope she clings to are small and transitory. These characters are still more prototypes than individuals, representing a common mixture for Depressive Psychosis, but Powell hasn’t carved out the idiosyncrasies of these specific people and their unique story yet. This well help to give a richer sense of humanity and complexity to Nell, her father and her ex boyfriend especially and it will give the actors more to work with in creating interesting individuals. It can also be very powerful to juxtapose very dark moments with moments of brightness, so it may be worth it for Powell to explore Nell’s former happiness and joy as well as her current despair.
This is an important subject for us to be exploring through the Arts and bringing to our communities through storytelling and theatre.
Like Dreaming Backwards at the Atlantic Fringe Festival has closed.