• Amy Toledano

Take Care presented by Ecoute Theatre

What Is It?

Écoute Theatre’s verbatim show, Take Care, comes to the VAULT Festival. Created by Cathy Lynch, Sam McLaughlin, and Zoe Templeman-Young, directed by Zoe Templeman-Young and performed by Hal Geller, Grace Saif, Sam McLaughlin and Zoe Templeman-Young.

What Is It About?

Created from over sixty interviews with individuals involved in the care system, Take Care examines the current state of our health and social care system and the impact over two decades of government mismanagement has had on people working on the front lines. The voices of the interviewees are brought to life by Écoute Theatre’s ensemble cast, and precise use of props and well-crafted soundscapes by Matt Kirk evoke the snapshot settings of their subjects.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

Good theatre is inherently political. It can be the mirror we hold up to our society, bringing lost or concealed narratives to the spotlight and provoking its audience to act for change. Take Care is one such piece that challenges its audience and examines its subject matter with nuanced care and detail.

I adore verbatim theatre. There is a certain power that comes from knowing the words being spoken by the actors on stage are the real words of people, spoken from personal experience. The personalities this ensemble cast present are charmingly captured in all the little imperfections and self-conscious delivery of their dialogue. The cast’s handling of all these numerous characters is masterfully achieved through voice and physicalisation. Given the speed with which these changes of character often happen, actors Geller, Saif, McLaughlin and Templeman-Young’s focus in embodying their characters keeps the pace of this piece driving forward with a keen clarity towards its numerous narrative strands. This is a piece that risks leaving its audience confused as to where we are in the plot, but this talented cast keep its audience firmly on track.

Yet, for a piece that deals with a hard hitting subject matter, this is a show that leaves its audience feeling elated as well as motivated to press for change. Take Care does not sacrifice the moments of levity that come from caring for the elderly in favour of telling a doom and gloom parable for our times. The moments of humour enhance the moments of pain and self-reflection, and indeed this is what I found particularly striking about this show - just as in life, there are moments of laughter as well as tears, and in this way Take Care is a true reflection of the every day lives of people involved in the care system.

Anything Else?

An impacting piece of verbatim theatre that handles its subject matter with a focused and nuanced care, giving a voice to the people who are so often forgotten in our society.

Alexandra x

Take Care is playing in The Network Theatre, VAULT Festival until the 15th March 2020.

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