Bryony Kimmings has made a name for herself as a fearless performer creating work explicitly about a particular social issue through a lens which is colourful, abstract, and always personal. The process of creating Fake It Til You Make It, in collaboration with real-life partner Tim Grayburn, initially appears similar, until we realise the fragility and danger of the work which focuses on their relationship, and their relationship’s relationship with mental illness, as Tim experiences severe clinical depression.
The performance mixes interviews of Tim with songs, dances and monologues, and is notable for its unflinching look at mental illness – with some incredibly difficult stories told without dramatic affect – and for its unique focus on mental health and relationships. Like Spalding Gray’s Monster in a Box, Fake It shares its focus quite evenly between the effects of illness on the person who experiences it and those who surround them. Fake It serves as both a performance and a piece of advocacy, providing examples for impactful public discussion.
Researchers will be interested in Bryony’s engagement with Tim (as a professional performer crafting his story) as an opportunity for reflection about qualitative research and the ethics inherent in patient engagement. What does it mean to use your partner’s mental illness as the territory for collaboration? How are researchers currently looking at support, how to be an effective support, support for supporters, etc? And what about audiences who don’t have a partner, or a supportive community around them? What might success look like, and is this different when creating a show not about health? What are the safety mechanisms put in place, professionally and personally, to allow for the ups and downs of mental health and arts practice? There are no simple solutions, but lots of high-energy and engaging exploration around these questions and many more. (BL)
FAKE IT 'TIL YOU MAKE IT Bryony Kimmings + Tim Grayburn Traverse Theatre, Venue 15 Aug 6-9, 11-16, 18-23, 25-30: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/fake-it-til-you-make-it Wheelchair Access and Level Access, BSL interpreted shows available
Bryony and Tim are also speaking at the first Open Meeting of The Sick of the Fringe! August 10th, 12-1pm at Summerhall: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-sick-of-the-fringe-2015-tickets-16972998696?ref=estw
For further information on Bryony Kimmings' work visit: http://bryonykimmings.com/
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