‘I distinctly remember being about 9 years old. Sat on the arm chair in my Nan’s house. And it suddenly hitting me that I was going to die. Of course I understood what death was before this point and I was definitely already pretty scared of it. But this was the first time I remember finding myself stuck in a hole of overthinking about it. And ever since then those moments have come and gone repeatedly.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a wimp. I’ve definitely felt afraid a great deal of my life. Some of my fears are less literal and more complex, but many of them relate to my potential/ inevitable death in some way.
We started off talking about the idea of making a show about death because of an experience I had about 2 years ago. I saw a man, a runner, who had collapsed, on the street and very sadly passed away. This brought my fears to the forefront of my mind, and it also became a big topic of conversation between myself and the rest of the company.
We talked a lot about the possibility of living forever. Very much about the fact that I would leap at the opportunity, whereas Becky, Phoebe and Tom all agreed that they couldn’t think of anything worse. My preoccupation with not wanting to die oddly fascinated them and, at first, we decided we were going to make a show about trying to live forever. However, quite organically the show and the conversation became more about the fear of death. About how universal that is but also how personal it can be.
For the sake of the show, we have exaggerated my fear and where I am at in my life with it, which helps me
as a performer to think of this as playing a character in a way. But it has also forced me to think and talk about things that I perhaps would rather not have, certainly in front of other people. Which has been tough, but cathartic.
In this sense, while the show hasn’t cured my fear by any means (it was never going to, let’s face it), it has taught me that my feelings are valid. That I’m not as “weird” or “unreasonable” as I may have previously thought. Well, maybe I am weird, but that’s OK.
I know, and we know, we are pretty naive to this whole subject and that there are people out there dealing with unimaginable loss, that there are people out there facing death imminently, that there are people out there dealing with serious crippling anxiety, and that there is no way we can imagine what that must be like. But I hope that my little story, that our little story can still speak to people who are afraid, who know people that are afraid, at whatever scale.
Sometimes we all need to express our fears and/ or our feelings about something as impossible to comprehend as it is inevitable.’