How Much of Who You are is Your Body? Tiresia at Etcetera Theatre, NW1
I was eagerly anticipating the second of Ian Dixon-Potter’s plays I had seen, following the impressive Boy Stroke Girl (reviewed here). As I was expecting, the script was sassy and smart.
A play that used a Greek mythological title and wove this theme throughout, it was an intelligent and fast-paced script with references that if I understood, made me feel clever and if not, taught me something.
The basic moral query of the play was shrouded in mystery for the audience from the beginning, though from the blurb, I had some idea over what we were being considered to ask ourselves. Read on if you do not mind a *spoiler*.
We were taken into the world of five people whose lives had been truly affected by a new medical procedure that allowed brain transplants from seriously ill bodies.
Tiresia, the plays beautiful and enigmatic protagonist, used to exist as an elderly male artist called Arthur who having been struck down by a dreadful disease has had his brain transplanted into the body of a young, attractive, twenty-something female. The premise of the play is his reaction to this, along with his long-term partner, a close family friend and the niece of the latter who has no idea of what has taken place.
The big philosophical question is whether memories may be inherited through the body and not just the brain and what one would do/be/or exist as if our brains were put into another body.
The script from Ian Dixon-Potter was – as usual – fast-paced, witty and modern.
The actors were all very talented and easy in their roles. Particularly impressive was Natasha Killam as Tiresia who played the old male artist in a young woman’s body with absolute truth. I kind of fancied her – as a straight female – because she inhabited the older male figure so authentically. Also impressive was Albert Clack as Harold, the old friend of 'Albert/Tiresia' trying to come to deal with their changed form.
Brought into question as well, was the body that Tiresia inherited, which she consistently seems to absorb memories from and the conversations I overhead following the performance were all about the reality of this. This was enhanced by the fact that one of the five characters was the mother of the dead woman who had given her body for medical science’s use – and therefore dealt with seeing the physicality of her daughter walking around with another person insider her brain.
Sexuality – which played a big part in IDP’s last play – was also mentioned here though merely to mock it. Because, in reality, is our sexuality the bodies we inhabit or the minds we have?
This play is running till July 16th at The Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High Street. Go, enjoy and prepare to feel slightly odd and confused afterwards.