Seventeen and Adam has found his Angel. He loves her. He makes her his wife. But where does Angel fit into Adam’s picture of their new life? From girl to wife, to mother… If she wants what he wants, why don’t they fit? ‘Trying to be Her’ is a dualogue of modern love. Romantic love, paternal love, sexual love, self love… Can they Coexist?
Trying to be Her is the latest play from Paula David. Founder of The Write Network in 2013, Paula has tirelessly championed the voices of new creative writers – 2017 has been the year she took a turn, and this is her second play to take to the stage this year. I was thrilled to be asked to join the team as a Production Assistant, which gave me the opportunity to get involved with this hard hitting piece of work at a very early stage.
The Write Network’s mission is to give voice to writers who are less visible in the world of literature, such as writers from an ethnic minority, new writers and mature writers embarking on a second career, to make those less visible in the creative industries more so.
Paula’s plays perform a similar role, giving voice to those who aren’t able to use theirs. Angel and Adam’s journeys see them unpack their identity through those around them; through each other, their parents, their child… they struggle to see their own wants and desires through identities carved out for them by societal and social pressures. This results in mental anguish, particularly on the part of Angel who suffers through an intense bout of depression, portrayed in unabashed detail in Paula’s writing and the cast’s sensitive performances.
It was this challenging emotional material that really drew me to want to work on the piece. It is hard to get it just right – relateable and yet not gratuitous, sensitive and yet not shying away from the harsh realities of mental illness.
See Trying to be Her at the Maud, Walthamstow, Thursday 14th September, 4pm and 7pm. Each performance will be followed by a post show talk.
All photography copwright: Christina Bulford Photography