Evelyn Snook turns the dark side of mental illness into brighter theatre in ‘Borderline’
Evelyn Snook is a courageous individual. Brave for having gone through and tackling the challenges of Borderline Personality Disorder – indeed, continuing so. And courageous for coming out and sharing her story with the public.
In her independent production, Borderline, Evelyn takes the audience on a deeply personal and lyrical exploration of growing up and living with mental illness. From struggling to make it to the next check-in text, to wondering if they’ll be around tomorrow, Evelyn has experienced the gamut of emotions and expectations and has expressed these in the most wonderful way possible: in all honesty.
The performance comes off as more of an enlightening/entertaining biography than a warts-and-all confessional, and Evelyn (who prefers the pronoun they/them) comes across as a seasoned thespian, as if performance is in their blood and important storytelling in their veins.
The production itself proves a lot can be done on a shoe-string budget. The Blue Room hardly holds a massive number in audience so the artist’s mission here isn’t necessarily to make a buck but to express themselves in the name of cathartic art and teaching us a thing or two.
Shadows play a big part in telling the story – and it’s magical that a torchlight and sequined jacket can provide for a brilliant light show. Then there is the constant catalyst of a cute pet puppy – who transforms the proverbial ‘black dog’ metaphor associated with the depression aspect of mental illnesses into a glorious part of this big thing we call Life.
Some of Evelyn’s accounts are accompanied by and interspersed with heartfelt guitar-strumming and singing by local musician Be Gosper, who herself is a friend of the artist and who has witnessed some of the darker days her buddy has gone through.
I walked away from this show with two things: (01) the realisation that expressing our dark truths isn’t something to be ashamed of, only something to be learnt from and celebrated for in breaking through it; and (02) fantastic stuff can come out of bad stuff, and instead of going backwards you should always let the bad stuff motivate you to be better.
Just look at what a brilliant show Evelyn herself has created!
‘Borderline’ was a part of The Blue Room Theatre’s 2021 Season.
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