Myles and Me presented by OSO Arts Centre
What is it?
Actress Ruth Curtis talks us through her struggles with Multiple Sclerosis in this short 55 minute piece written by Lekha Desai Morrison.
What is it all about?
It’s difficult to tell what Myles and Me is about for the first forty minutes. You understand that the character, played by Ruth Curtis, has a health problem that caused her first partner Jeremy to leave her and you get the sense that she has been arrested for something, but past that I found myself searching for a solid plot point to hold on to.
By the end of the 55 minute piece you understand that Ruth, through the words of Lekha Desai Morrison, is telling us about her life, from being diagnosed with MS in her 20s, being left by her partner, learning how to deal with her life being less mobile than she once was, and eventually falling in love with a paramedic at a marathon, who she will marry tomorrow.
How did it make me feel?
Myles and Me unfortunately left me feeling empty. I think disability, Multiple Sclerosis in particular, is something that should definitely be platformed more. I am not sure I have ever heard the story of someone with MS on stage before, however, despite Desai Morrison working closely with Curtis, Myles and Me seemed to lack any kind of voice at all. Although running at only 55 minutes, it was a long time to go with no real narrative at all, and I felt frustrated at the fact that we are finally hearing the voice of a disabled woman on stage and it seemed to be all about pleasing her new fiancé, Simon.
The production was clunky and awkward. There were persistent graphics made up of crude sketches and stock imagery that didn’t seem to serve any purpose other than to distract Curtis, who was reading from the script, which I think may have held her back from effectively injecting a pretty sterile script with any emotion.
If this had been billed as a work in progress, or a script in hand performance it would have made more sense, but unfortunately what should have been a moving and poignant piece was bogged down by awkward blocking, weak multi-rolling and a confusing, borderline offensive script.
I would really love to see this show re-worked. It seemed such a shame to waste such an important story on a disappointing, male-centred production. I think if Desai Morrison was able to come at the script from a different angle and find that emotionally engaging narrative, and perhaps work with a director or dramaturg who would be able to smooth everything out this could be an important piece of theatre to see.
Myles and Me is playing at OSO Arts Centre until the 29th October 2019.
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