Who Cares If I Care? by Hidden Corners International, directed by Robin Davidson. Gorman House C Block October 25-27, 7.30pm.
When young people perform I usually look for their sincerity, knowing that for untrained actors it is hard not to pretend to act, rather than really act. If a performance can move me to laughter and tears, make me face reality, and yet still celebrate life, then I know I am not watching a pretence.
Hidden Corners International is a big name for a small group of teenagers who through force of circumstance must care for others - maybe a sick parent, a disabled sibling. Mary Gays from Marymead, aware of the tensions and pressures affecting young carers, asked Robin Davidson to run workshops in creative writing and drama from which grew Who Cares If I Care?, a remarkably strong piece of theatre following George's story dealing with her father's sudden hospitalisation with a brain tumour (while her mother had died when George was young); Kevin's story with a mother who only appears on the end of a phone line while he has to cope with a schizophrenic younger brother; and Claire's story of how angry she becomes with her mother who is disabled with multiple sclerosis.
You can see where the tears come from, but these young people facing such adult responsibilities show us humour with a telling ironic edge, fear without sentimentality, and a wonderful sense of achievement in their lives. The play itself is an achievement of which they can all be proud. The sincerity of their performances, grounded in their real life experiences, has left me wondering how I would cope in their circumstance. It makes me concerned that, though this group have had such a great opportunity in creating and presenting their play, there must be many young - and older - carers who are not given the support they need. Politicians please take note.
Particularly I was worried by the humorous but unpleasant vignettes of a counsellor so concerned with his own childish obsession that he couldn't even listen to his clients' stories, let alone help them. If you would like to help, especially to send Hidden Corners to a Young Carers Festival in UK next year, which makes them International, email Mary Gays at firstname.lastname@example.org .
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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