Writer Diana Maes and director/performer Pelagie-May Green bring their show Think Me in Circles to Vault this month.
A touching, personal story about a mother coming to terms with the suicide of her adult daughter, it merges dream-like symbiotic visuals, physical theatre, puppetry and live music.
Where: Pit at The Vaults
When: 17-19 Feb
Pelagie chatted to us about how the show came about and addressed the wider issues that form part of this unique exploration of personal loss.
What is the best thing about being part of a festival like Vault?
We are so thrilled to be a part of such a vibrant and unique festival. The best thing for me personally is meeting like-minded artists and theatre makers and feeling inspired by their work.
Think Me in Circles is a very personal story about a family suicide from a mother’s perspective. What was the inspiration behind making it into a show?
Think Me in Circles is a very sensitive piece. The text, written by Diana Maes, is autobiographical and is a very beautifully written memoir about the journey she has travelled through after losing her daughter.
This resulted in a greater awareness of life in general and made her focus more on growth and beauty rather than the deep sadness of her loss. Diana is a close friend of the family, and her daughter was a dear friend of mine and my mother, Pascale Pollier, who is the artistic director of Think Me in Circles.
When Diana asked me if I wanted to create a piece based on her text and direct it, I felt so honoured that she had given me her trust. It means more to me than I can ever express.
For her, the experience and journey has also been a positive healing process and for her to know it will be performed, and that people are rehearsing her lines is a continuation of that feeling of getting stronger.
The show uses physical theatre, puppets and music. Was this a conscious choice from the very start?
The show has gone through many different stages. It started first as a one-woman show with no physicality, no puppetry. This could have been very powerful and strong on its own, yet whilst working through the text, I started to visualise the emotional journey. I started to think how one could possibly tell such a delicate raw story through imagery? How does one visualise grief or mania?
Puppetry helped enormously with the storytelling and symbolism – introducing lightness and wonder to the scenes happening in the mother’s mind and memory. Bringing the puppets to life has, for me, been a surreal, reflective experience as I’m essentially performing with myself! There are a lot of dreamlike visuals, but we also don’t hide away from the harsh heart-breaking facts of what actually happened.
Music plays a very important part: it lifts the text, balances the heaviness of the words, and follows the journey of emotions linked with every memory. This felt needed as soon as we started working on puppetry, a non-verbal communication. It won’t be all soft and delicate – but I also don’t want to give away too much.
Do you think society is kinder to those left behind from deaths by suicide than it used to be?
Society is definitely kinder than it used to be, but I feel there is still a lack of understanding. We want to emphasise the need to help grieving families afflicted by suicide and to raise awareness of expression and mental health – I know Diana feels very strongly about this.
Do you have plans for the show beyond Vault?
We would love to continue with Think Me in Circles, hopefully go on tour internationally.