LIGHT, part of the inaugural season of TACTICS at Arts Court, is a one-woman show by Lisa Jeans exploring the very serious problem of eating disorders and what it’s like living with them. LIGHT is also intended to be a multi-disciplinary experience blending theatre and technology.
Should you see it?
Dr. Rose is committed to perfection in all aspects of her life. Her patient care. Her career. Her reputation. Her relationship. Her body.
Her obsessive need to be light sees her eating meals that consist of barely a handful of almonds until, as these things eventually do, everything starts to unravel around her, leaving her to face her eating disorder head on and make a choice.
The production of LIGHT is a full on multimedia experience. Its multiple projection screens serve to create a kind of memory-recall styled visualization of Dr. Rose’s interaction with her patients and other people in her life (played by various other local actors you’ll recognize). The musical score for LIGHT is played live from on stage by sound designer, Jason Sonier, conducted like an orchestra in time to what’s happening on stage. It’s a wonderfully accomplished blending of methods and for those interested in the blending of theatre and technology, LIGHT is worth seeing on those merits alone.
LIGHT is a hard look at living with an eating disorder, dealing with the gremlins that can take hold in our brains, and the ways we justify our behaviour to ourselves and others. As noted by Lisa Jeans’ program note, LIGHT was inspired by her own eating disorder, and while not autobiographical, her experiences in similar waters to her Dr. Rose heavily inform the writing and performing of the piece, giving the audience a strong sense of what living with such a condition is like and creating a somewhat lyrical poetic way of experiencing it with her.
What was missing was a good sense of who Dr. Rose was and what she wanted outside of her eating disorder. We get glimpses into her relationship, and her career, but only as products of her disorder. We never get a fully realized picture of the person. This means, that while the piece remains powerful, I was left wanting a stronger connection to Dr. Rose the person.
Nonetheless, LIGHT is a show well worth seeing about a topic well worth having some light shone on it. It pulls few punches, particularly as things starts to get away from Dr. Rose and she turns to self-harm, showing how pervasive and complicated mental disorders can be.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to hear what you think? Did you relate and connect to Dr. Rose, or did you have a hard time getting into LIGHT? How accurately do you feel LIGHT captures the realities of living with an eating disorder? Join the discussion in the comments below.
LIGHT runs as part of the TACTICS series at Arts Court now through until January 31st. More information, including how to buy tickets, to be found at artscourt.ca