Melissa Keighley: I’m in a thing -it will leave you reeling and breathless

Get your tickets from the Sarah Thorne theatre

I’m fairly new to am-dram. An incurable urge to show off sent me to an audition two and a half years ago, where I read with the man who’ll soon be my husband.

But going to the theatre has always been my favourite thing to do. Something about sharing in a collective experience, different every night, with live performers before you; an experience the audience also helps shape and create, with their every rustle, cough, laugh, frozen silence, makes it absolutely my favourite art form. To me it speaks truths more profoundly and passionately than any film, book or painting.

Our urge to share stories is pre-historic; we learn and grow from others’ lives, all the more when they are presented artfully. I’ve seen plays that have completely transformed me, shaped me into myself.

Which is a pretty long-winded way of saying I’m in a thing and you should come see it. It’s called Breathing Corpses, and it’s on at the Sarah Thorne theatre, June 24-25. It’s an unusual play for amateurs to tackle – it isn’t easy, neither to act nor watch; it takes effort and brains to unpick. But that makes it all the more satisfying when you crack it. It’s a play that lingers long after you’ve seen it. Its title comes from a quote from Sophocles – When a man has lost all happiness, he’s not alive. Call him a breathing corpse. Tough sell, eh?

And yet, which of us hasn’t felt like that once in a while, and many of us, rather more often? You have to experience and survive every emotion to call yourself truly human. And in 90 minutes a cast of seven take you through pretty well every emotion there is, leaving you – and them – reeling and breathless at the finish. It’s directed by an obscenely talented child, Lydia Crosher, who gave us Midsummer Night’s Dream last year and is off to drama school in September; come to this so in years to come you can boast you knew her work before she was famous.

It’s not for children – it’s pretty sweary and brutal. And it’s not for anyone who doesn’t like the sound of my voice, as I never blinking shut up. (“Learn 10000 lines to spout the same month I’m moving and marrying? Sure, why not? That’ll take care of any pesky free time!”)

But as to the rest of you – if you’ve ever known grief or rage, despair or joy; experienced loss or the fear of loss – you’ll find something in this play that will speak to you.

And you can enjoy an exciting preview of me as the neurotic, nagging, shrew of a wife to a vastly superior actor. That’s surely worth a tenner.

Breathing Corpses is on at the Sarah Thorne theatre, Broadstairs, June 24 at 7.30pm and June 25 at 3pm. Tickets cost £9 in advance or £11 on the door.

Call 01843 863701

 

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