Author: Tatum Stafford
Tuesday night’s preview performance of ‘Borderline’ at The Blue Room Theatre was tender, uplifting and full of heart.
Written and performed by Evelyn Snook, the show traced their life from a young child with some overpowering emotions, to a teenager struggling to comprehend things around them. That is, until a Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis entered the fray.
The play progresses in story format, covering different aspects of Evelyn’s life, including finding a support group for those with BPD, exploring relationships and travelling to Singapore to study performance and make several strong friendships.
The first thing that struck me was how fearless and inspiring of a person (and performer) Evelyn is. On paper, this play is about a person growing up and living with mental illness. But thanks to incredible storytelling, touching music and powerful symbolism of Evelyn’s early love of ballet and dancing, the story transcends any preconceived notions audience members may have had about BPD, and raises the bar for intimate, one-person performances.
Evelyn’s partner in crime for the show is talented folk singer-songwriter Be Gosper. Be’s music was absolutely incredible, and served to elevate Evelyn’s memories in such an elegant and thoughtful way. I was in awe of Be’s lyricism and gorgeous melodies, and can’t wait to follow their career as a musician into the future.
Behind the scenes, the crew did a fantastic job helping Evelyn share her story. Jasmine Lifford’s lighting design was spectacular, allowing shadow projections and images of Evelyn as a child to infiltrate the space and invite us to become more involved with their story and memories. Clare Testoni’s AV and set design, and Daniel Dosek’s puppetry consultation should also be commended in this regard.
Kylie Bywaters provided phenomenal direction for the piece, which flowed incredibly well and gave space for breath in some particularly poignant moments and songs where Be could display incredible musicianship and emotionality.
This was an incredibly important piece of theatre that I feel very privileged to have witnessed. It navigates traditionally ‘heavy’ topics with tenderness and care, and I anticipate Perth audiences will delight in hearing Evelyn’s story and hearing about her inspiring worldview.