This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub.
A vigil takes place but this is one like no other. The ritual is repetitive, obsessive, and full of rumination. A woman, Doireann, presides over the ceremony. It is witnessed by the stage manager, Gemma, and the audience. We are there. She is there. Her brother is not.
I’m Not Here is writer and director Doireann Coady’s rite of passage in delving into the internal and external torment that surrounds bereavement through suicide. Actions and words are repeated in an attempt to get them exactly right; to mark the last time they took place or were spoken with her brother, Donal, before his death. When memory fails, regret sets in. The events of Donal’s life and death, as his sister experienced them, are relayed in a performance that is deeply layered and profound.
Presented by THEATERclub I’m Not Here dances between theatre and performance art. It is a slow burning show that becomes emotionally explosive through Coady’s excellent performance and the use audio recordings from her past. In a Gestalt-esque manner Coady pushes Fritz Perls’ empty chair technique beyond its boundaries, taking the audience with her. Equally harrowing and compelling, I’m Not Here will be an individual experience for everyone. While the stages of grief can be confined to a set of specific processes, the human experience of those stages is unique to each person. Coady highlights the need to speak about grief and, importantly, the need for grief to be witnessed.
This is beautiful. This is brilliant. Do yourself a favour: don’t go see this show.
Note: suitable for ages 16+
Writer: Doireann Coady
Director: Doireann Coady
Runs until 7 October 2017 | Image: Contributed