Byron Vincent comperes our monthly poetry night, Blahblahblah, this time he returns with a new work in development…
Briefly describe (for us) what your show is about?
The show is a personal exploration of the reality of living with a diagnosis of mental illness. My journey from weird kid to medically certified loon. I’ll be examining the effects of trauma. Exploring the paradox of shyness being born from egotism. Glibly dissecting psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. Challenging taboos and stigmas and addressing common fears and myths relating to mental health.
Now describe it in 3 words.
Funny. Unsettling. Honest.
Is it similar to what you’ve done previously or are you trying something new?
This is new ground for me. It contains elements of things I’ve tinkered with in the past, but is quite a leap from my usual one man and a Microphone spoken word sets. Expect multimedia, character comedy, Tinfoil, prose and a lamb chop called Allen.
How will it make people feel? / What will it make people think about?
I hope to address how difficult it can be to empathize with someone who obviously needs compassion but whose behaviour can be disturbing and alienating. I want people to leave feeling informed and entertained. Some people might feel unsettled in parts, but it’s important for me to tell this story honestly without being patronising.
What stage will it be at in its development when we see it in January?
It will be very much at the experimental stage. For me Ferment is about exploring possibilities. I’ll have a wet ink first draught in my hand and a red pen in my pocket. I’m excited about working, this way. The audience will decide what works and what doesn’t. This night is a collaboration and the audience will be the editors
What elements in particular are you looking forward to testing it out on Ferment audiences?
I’ll be dealing with emotive and controversial subjects in a tone people may find sardonic or even flippant. For me this is not just a personal coping mechanism, it’s also part of a broader practice I’m attempting to hone. Sometimes dark and brutal truths are best expressed in a seemingly superficial way, otherwise they can come across as manipulative or indulgent. I hope this piece will test the boundaries of what people feel comfortable laughing at. That’s what I’m most excited about.
What are your personal highlights of the line-up for January’s Ferment Fortnight?
Well, Jonny Fluffypunk, Chris Redmond and Anna Freeman are all regulars at Blahblahblah, the monthly spoken word night I run in Bristol Old Vic basement so I’m really looking forward to seeing their shows.
Byron Vincent will appear on Thu 31 Jan as part of Ferment Fortnight. Find out more information here.