Fake it ‘til you make it was the worst piece of advice given to a group of men who suffer the debilitating disease of depression. It made Bryony Kimmings quite angry, and when she gets angry, she brews a new show. This is it, and it’s breathtaking.
Kimmings is a seasoned performance artist with an illustrious career both behind her and before her. In contrast, her partner in life and on stage, Tim Grayburn, is an account manager at a top advertising agency.
Grayburn and Kimmings are compelling. After a cute musical opening, they introduced themselves to us, chatting casually about their background and the premise of the show. Kimmings was inspired to build the show around her discovery of Grayburn’s mental illness (chronic depression and acute anxiety) six months into their relationship.
Through a series of movement pieces, intimate audio recordings, and visual imagery, we were companions on their journey. That journey took us on a wave of emotions, compassion and empathy, and ended in a sea of tears. Seriously, I looked around at the end and didn’t even feel embarrassed to wipe my face because everyone else was doing it too.
Fake it ‘til you make it strives to demystify the illness of depression, which 1 in 8 men will suffer. 1 in 5 men will experience anxiety in their lives and yet the topic is still taboo. The second most useless piece of advice given to men struggling with the symptoms of depression was “Be a Man.” Kimmings and Grayburn do not accept this as the status quo.
The duo’s rapport is adorable and at times she coaches him through his moments of nerves. Clearly, Grayburn is not accustomed to the stage, nor does he pretend to be. However, this adds to the authenticity and bravery of the performance instead of detracting, because every night he has to make the difficult choice to join his beloved on stage, to be vulnerable, to tell his own story. Each night he decides that this is more important than any manifestation of fear. What an incredible feat.
The Blue Room Theatre Summer Nights and Theatre Works in association with PICA present
Fake it 'til you Make it
by Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn
Venue: PICA Performance Space | Perth Cultural Centre, 51 James Street, Northbridge, WA
Dates: 3 – 7 February, 2015
Tickets: $30 – 25