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Thursday, 3 May 2018

Re-Live: Belonging @Chapter Arts....Review


I first saw Belonging when I attended as a Care Assistant at a special performance and training session  at Chapter some years ago  ....it made me cry and rejoice at the same time. I then attended a public performance last year as I loved it so much. That love remains....


I love that every seat within the auditorium had not only a promotional leaflet but also an informative sheet that not only gave you the history of the production but also information regarding support and resources relating to Dementia.....



Much as I l love the storyline of Sheila (Gillian Elisa) and the conflicting views of her children at the beginning - the star of the show is definitely Llion Williams (Morys) - his transformation from the youthful young man to the ....I actually don't know how to phrase this respectfully ...the man he becomes with Dementia- is devastating and a true example of encompassing a character as a whole - his performance is a tour de force and heart-breaking. Mags' (Cler Stephens) love for her husband of 42 years shone throughout her story.Having listened to my sister in her dark days as Dads carer - she had gone through a similar situation re: the clifftop scene.

Here is her summary of the evening:
Kim took me to see 'Belonging' at Chapter last night.She'd told me it was to do with Dementia so I was prepared as my Dad had had Parkinson's and Dementia and I had been his carer.It was snap shots of two sets of people coping with dementia : a Mother and her grown up kids and a couple that had been married for 42yrs -I have to be honest I didn't feel anything for the Mother and her kids - it was nothing like my experience with my dad so I couldn't connect.
However the couple.... I understood that one far too well, because  that had been just me and dad coping as best we could but unlike Mags and Morys we'd pretty much been fobbed off on the care side in Brum. Boy did I understand that moment when Mags speaks about losing her husband, even though he was still there. I knew that feeling only too well, the pain of knowing you can't cope any more and your going to have to do that thing you always swore yourself you would never do, along with that moment, that God Awful moment when you consider the unthinkable.
I sat quietly at those moments with tears falling, unable to distance myself for those few moments from the past and the guilt I still feel and will feel till my dying day.I can't say it was enjoyable but it did the job they set out to do, to let people see inside something that is even more scary than what John Wayne called the big C and I say that because my mother died of Cancer.
Both Llion Williams and especially Cler Stephens were brilliant in their love which reminded me so hauntingly of my parents love.
The only criticism I can give is that it ends on a soft note of togetherness and the end is never that soft, never that nice. The end suffocates you as you fall into the black abyss of grief and guilt but I suppose that wouldn't be the end they would want to finish on.

This is a play with heart, with understanding and love. Dementia is not pretty , it can't be dressed up -
We see the differing behaviours of Dementia, the consequences within the family and the utter heartbreak that this disease can cause. Tears, sniffs and sobbing were heard throughout mingled with laughter and smiles. That's Life , a mixture of all that's good with all that thwarts, tests and, sometimes, breaks us .

As a Carer I have also viewed  Re-Lives  15 minute short film 'Home From Home' depicting one family's journey of their experience of  moving their mother into residential accommodation. It is, indeed, a marvellous training resource for new and experienced Carers.

Belonging continues at Chapter run till Saturday...Grab a seat if you can - you won't regret it!
Seats are Limited!!!

Otherwise- here are the rest of the Tour Dates.....


Disclosure: I did not received tickets in exchange for review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.


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