ONstage: Losing Faith – six reasONs to see this vital new show

Losing Faith - coming to a stage near you, Central Otago!

Losing Faith – coming to a stage near you, Central Otago!

LOSING FAITH is a play which gives voice to all-too-often unspoken ideas around post natal depression. ANNABEL WILSON attended the opening night of its second season, and shares six reasons why you should see this brave new work. 
#1: Losing Faith gives you a lot to talk about. Through its two hour tracing of the protagonist’s trajectory through PND, the show incites vital conversation around this condition. Naturalistic scenes are punctuated with sculptured ensemble movement and underscored by a moody soundtrack. As the cast with director Fiona Armstrong develop these interweaving elements, we learn that the challenge for Faith (Becky Plunkett) will be to navigate the first weeks and months of being a new mother as the world as she had known it seems to crumble around her.
#2: Losing Faith is infused with wry humour – balancing the show’s shades of light and dark. Birth plans (“I’ve seen the nasty side effects of pethidine at the vet”), Plunket milestones and checklists, coffee groups, mastitis and self-help books are dissected with acerbic banter between Faith and her partner John (Andrew McPhedran), and those around her. Strong performances from the coffee group contingent bring a welcome reprieve from some of the heavier themes of the story. Jen is the highly strung darling; Pete the stay-at-home-Dad; Carly the hardcore no-bullshit breadwinner and Naomi the jovial pragmatist. Along with Bridget from Plunket, these characters are satellites in Faith’s unhinging, all reaching out to her in their own way. Ultimately, Faith needs to choose to reach out on her own.
#3: Losing Faith’s writer Liz Breslin is having a moment. This week, the playwright, regular ODT columnist, poet and spoken wordster Breslin also launched her first poetry collection. A strong voice across all of these genre, her writing is taut and tenacious. In Losing Faith, she has created a script which takes an unflinching look at an illness which is under-represented on screen, stage and in print. Go Liz!
#4: Losing Faith’s creative team and cast are a talented crew who are committed to making theatre in the regions. And we need more theatre stories to be shared on stages across all of Aotearoa – not just Auckland and Wellington. So take a bouquet, Fiona, Liz, Becky, Andrew, Nicole, Luke, Lisa, Bridget and  Samantha. Well done for bringing your skills to the audiences of Wanaka, Bannockburn, Arrowtown, Queenstown and Hāwea.
#5: Losing Faith resonates points of poesis and pathos through the juxtaposition of movement and stillness. Particularly striking scenes included: the wall of sound created by the characters positioned within the audience and verbalising phone messages left for Faith; Faith and John’s choreographed duo that book-ends the show;  the slow-motion shapes made by the bodies of the cast; and the split stage yoga versus baking routine.
#6: Losing Faith is an important piece because we don’t talk about mental health enough. This work speaks to anyone who has been affected not just by PND, but by depression in general. Which is everyone. Because one in five New Zealanders will suffer from depression at some point in their lives. So let’s talk about it. Exploring the condition through creative endeavours such as this is an excellent way to begin.
For ON-the-ball previews, promotion, advertising, interviews, reviews and photography for your cool happenings and concepts, contact annabel@onmag.co.nz

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