Mel Moon’s stand-up performance charts her journey being diagnosed with a chronic, and incredibly dangerous, rare endocrine illness, which forces Moon to consider life, and living with dignity with a chronic condition. Although the show received major media attention for its contribution to conversations about assisted suicide, Dignitas, EXIT etc, Moon is fervent in her apolitical stance - thankful that she didn’t choose to end her life while at her most fragile and painful, she seems to speak compassionately about euthanasia activists. Even then, though, the journey is significantly less about how the personal journey intersects with political controversies, and more about the development of a chronic condition, and its effects on family, life goals, and how one interacts with the outside world.
Moon’s work demonstrates how desperately the world needs better understandings of a social model of disability which recognises the the body grows and changes over time, versus a medical model which demands the body always returns to a stable ‘normal’. The lack of language around disability/medical condition creates huge rifts amongst Moon’s relationships, a common effect of serious illness and major changes in health. Also potent in the work is the frustrating and difficult journey of diagnosis of a rare condition: while Moon praises her current doctor as a genius, months and months of unrecognised or under appreciated symptoms is all too common, particularly for young adults, people statistically unlikely to have serious conditions.
Jess Thom, as Touretteshero, talks extensively about how interdependence (with an onstage co-performer and offstage with support workers) is critical to a life which might be seen as independent. For Moon, drugs and her partner are constant companions, and it is exciting to see how initial resistance blossoms into a great understanding of a life which is more complicated and untraditional than perhaps one thought it would be.
SICK GIRL, Mel Moon, 10-30 August. Laughing Horse @ The Counting House. Venue is not wheelchair accessible.https://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/event/494715-mel-moon-sick-girl/
*Liz Carr will be, as part of The Sick of the Fringe, delivering a keynote address entitled RATHER DEAD THAN DISABLED which will also be dealing with some similar themes*
On the medical vs. social model of disability: http://www.disability.ie/disability-ie-information-portal/site-sections/rights-legislation/185-society/538-social-and-medical-models-of-disability
Resources for those with rare diseases:
More about Touretteshero: touretteshero.com