Thursday, 12 October 2017

I Applaud A Performance

Lucy Aphramor is hot.  You can tell this from the cover of her book, Raise The Roof.  She is shown sharp with style and she looks you in the eye. If she had a gauntlet, she'd be laying it down.  Behind her are the flames of a burning home.

It is typical of Lucy, ever-generous, that proceeds from the sale of Raise The Roof are going to support her friends Leela and Jamie, who, she says in her preface, have stuck with her through thick and thin, and whose home burned down earlier this year.

Raise The Roof is the book of the show. Lucy is the Naked Dietician and I first saw her performance in its entirety in Edinburgh, on the Fringe.  I've kept my ticket from that day as a souvenir.

I want to remember that performance because it was brave and bold: in fact, it was incendiary.  Lucy's monologue is a weaving of stories of injustice, of heartbreak and oppression, into something that's alight with energy and hope. Always serious, she plays with words in a way that's clear with enjoyment and raises some chuckles amidst the intensity.

So to take the opportunity to see the performance again at the Quaker Meeting House in Shrewsbury last Sunday evening was, for me, obvious. At a time when the news is full of miserable stories about the abuses of white male privilege - women groped and raped, young black men singled out, children shamed about their body shapes - Lucy challenges the status quo - the assumption that simple sound bites: for example, eat less, move more, dispensed by the Powers-That-Be-So-Simplistic, can redress the injustices resulting from inequalities built into the very fabric of society. Whilst this a personal statement, it inevitably calls us, the audience, to consider living differently:

         for right now I am on fire gut-busting for an exodus from stasis
         so almighty it incites the gods in each of us to hurl up everything
         they worship   sacred  secular  profane   inflame a new way 
         of doing being praying grieving growing speaking thinking longing
         loving listening fucking that does justice justice

It's impossible to hear the density of Lucy's text and absorb it in one sitting. Hearing it again, I realised it's impossible to hear the density of Lucy's text and absorb it in two sittings, but it was definitely an advantage to hear it twice. And buying the book for a longer look makes sense.

On Sunday, the audience was focused and able to hear each word, each lift of hope and ecstasy, each plunge into despair and pain.  Lucy's command of her words, her amazing memory for them, left us free to soak, washed over by wave upon wave of a searing yet playful narrative which includes the deeply personal references to self-harm and discrimination, and the deeply political longing for injustice to be brought out into the clear light of day, seen for what it is.

1 comment:

  1. I applaud the commentator , she speaks the truth on this subject.