Since moving into my London home, my housemate, Sam, has not stopped going on about his favourite play, Things I Know to be True, written by Andrew Bovell. Only recently did we discover that it had finished its time in London and had moved on to Bristol. So, two weeks ago we spontaneously booked tickets and went on an adventure to what I now call one of my favourite cities (no one panic – Cardiff is still No.1)
One of my closest friends, Ffion, studies at Bristol University, therefore accommodation was sorted. I can’t tell you just how good it was to see her and catch up. There’s something about leaving home and starting a new chapter that really makes you appreciate the friends and family that you’ve left behind, so seeing her again felt really special (Ffi, if you’re reading this, soz if this made you vom) We headed over to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre to collect our tickets and to take a look around, and my god was it beautiful. I remember going on a school trip to the same location to see Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ a few years back and it looks completely different to what it looked like back then; brick walls, graffiti, paintings, fairy lights, a backstage bar and a very open space to socialise (basically a warehouse that has been transformed into a thing of beauty)
Things I Know to be True
Without a doubt, this is one of the best plays I have ever seen. I didn’t know anything about it before I sat in my seat and I didn’t want to either. All I knew is that it was a Frantic Assembly production, meaning it would be strongly based on movement (if you haven’t heard of this company before, I would highly recommend that you go and check them out) Usually, when I go and see a show for the first time, I would make the effort to research into the background without trying to spoil the ending for myself, but this time I decided to change it up a little bit and expect the unexpected. I cannot tell you just how glad I am of making this decision, because it made this particular theatre experience worthwhile.
Now I’m not going to spoil it for you, because then what would be the point of this post? If it’s on at your local theatre, go and see it. If you fancy having a read of it, buy the play. I’m telling you now whichever you decide, you won’t regret it.
When the play had finished and went into blackout, no word of exaggeration here, my hands were covered with the drips of my tears. When I cry properly, my nose starts to run… mine was a waterfall! Despite the embarrassment of not being able to find a tissue and looking like an absolute wreck with mascara running down my face, I couldn’t quite believe the things I was feeling all because of something that has been written and transformed into a piece of theatre. I cried for a solid hour because of what I’d just witnessed and I even had to make a quick phone call to both my mum and my dad just to remind them how much I love them. Pathetic, right? To their knowledge, they probably thought I was drunk (but this wasn’t until later!) Picturing this scenario in your head, you’re probably finding it hard to sympathise with me as this is so ridiculous, but this is the reason as to why I wanted to write about this.
This is what I want to do. I want to be able to have the power to make someone cry and experience the things that the incredible cast of ‘Things I Know to be True’ made me feel. A piece of text alone can be incredible, but putting all the ingredients into one pot, it really does make you realise that actions can sometimes speak louder than words. It’s time that the creative arts gained more of an audience, because everyone should experience what I witnessed, on this particular night, at least once in their lives. A theatre experience that made me look at the bigger picture of what I call, life.