Review: Ripple effects of suicide captured in powerful play

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Sarah Reid on stage at the Sunflower bar in Belfast in her drama ‘Feel the Ripple

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan

The hardest subject that VIEW has covered so far was our issue of the magazine which examined suicide and the devastating consequences of it on families, relatives, friends and the wider community.

Actor Sarah Reid, who recently performed at a VIEWdigital event on the rise of food banks in Northern Ireland, along with actor Mary McGurk, has written and performed in a piece of theatre called ‘Feel the Ripple’, which looks at grief and loss in the wake of a young man’s suicide.

The short drama was devised in collaboration with director Rob Crawford, Patrick Quinn and actor Curtis-Lee Ashqar

On a minimalist stage at the Sunflower bar in Belfast last week, Sarah delivered a powerful performance of a young woman overwhelmed by anguish after her friend takes his own life.

Sarah Reid and Curtis-Lee Ashqar in ‘Feel the Ripple’

Her mother and father (with both roles ably played by Curtis-Lee Ashqar) struggle to effectively communicate with their daughter’s grief.

The ‘mother’ utter lines such as “Get yourself up and give yourself a good shake” whilst the ‘father’ tries to communicate to his ‘daughter’ with awkward humour.

The ‘daughter’ just wants to be listened to.

Sarah has a physicality of acting which commands attention. The most effective parts of this short piece is when she is silent, consumed by sadness. You just want to hug her and listen to her her thoughts.

Mental health issues are often portrayed in media campaigns as urging sufferers to talk to someone. The slogan – ‘It’s OK to talk’ has been communicated widely.

Whilst this is a very positive step, we also urgently need effective mental health services rather than the over-prescription of medicine.

The ‘Feel the Ripple’ team capture the turmoil of people’s lives in the wake of a suicide. We understand totally when Sarah tells us – “Sometimes I have dreams which keep me awake at night.”

This young actress has the ability to make us listen to her.

Stark, unflinching, with fleeting moments of poignancy, ‘Feel the Ripple’ cast its net wide on the effects of the suicide crisis in Northern Ireland. Sarah is to be commended for raising the issue of mental health and how we need to deal with it more effectively.

To read the VIEW issue on suicide – http://viewdigital.org/2016/11/03/need-talk-suicide-prevention/

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