There has been an increase in the number of suicides over the past twelve months. I know this because my local Samaritans group had a stall at my local train station, trying to make people aware of how many deaths occur through people taking their own lives. By some strange quirk of fate that very evening, I ‘appen to watch Vinay Patel’s Free Fall at the offbeat 53Two theatre, which focuses much of it’s story on the plight of a troubled woman who sees no way out other than jumping off the nearest bridge.
The arts have often been used as a medium to raise the awareness of issues that perhaps go unnoticed by the majority of those in society. Often a silent minority within our communities that deal with day to day pressures that you and I perhaps take for granted. The more intimate the story that is told in relation to the issue, the more we feel the need to empathize, not just on a personal level, but also from a political and social standpoint.
I can close my eyes and still hear the baseline thumping, the monotonous sounds that accompany the spoken words, unrelenting, one after the other, delivered with ferocious ferocity at a speed that makes my brain struggle to keep up. It is incessant, persistent, unremitting, unyielding, remorseless, an undercurrent of words, sounds and light that is continually pushing me deeper under water, and as I come up for air, I am dragged back down, drowning in the myriad that is this bewildering concoction from Kieran Hurley. Heads Up.
Things are getting serious in the course for critics. Current mentors, Andrew Haydon and Catherine Love, decided that this week we’d have the pleasure of being regaled and inspired by none other than Lyn Gardner.
In a small side room tucked neatly between the Pre Raphaelites and 19th Century classics is Manchester Art Gallery’s exhibition on what it is to be human. A collection of portraits intended to show more than the individual characteristics and personality of the sitter. It’s seeking to explore expressions of human emotion common to us all – love, desire, frustration, grief and loneliness.