Helen Seymour is struggling to keep her head above water in her very funny, dark new solo show. She has weak muscles, screws in her spine and can’t stop thinking about creative ways to commit murder. This is what she tells us:
“These are my Important Questions I ask on a first date:
1. Do you consider yourself a feminist?
2. Do you like Eminem?
3. Do you believe in ghosts?
4. What is your favorite season? (please rank 1-4)
5. Do you remember the 90s TV children’s classic “Percy in the Park?” (if yes, what’s your opinion, if no, why not?)…”
“Do you think these questions might be a bit of a defence mechanism?” Hannah Silva, my director, asks me. (We weren’t on a date, we were in a writing session. On a tea break. I was on a tangent about why I’ve just deleted Tinder. Again.)
“Defence mechanism?” I say. “I wish it was that simple..”
To put it simply, there’s a lot going on in my head. You know when you get a thought in your head about doing something really bad. Like standing on a train platform and thinking you could push someone off the edge? It’s called an intrusive thought. I get them quite a lot. Lots of people do, they just don’t to say them out loud. It’s a scary thing to talk about. You worry people might think you’re capable of doing something really bad. You worry you’re capable of doing something really bad.
There’s also a fair bit going on in my body. I had a hunchback when I was 16 due to a twisted spine. It got reduced a lot when I was 18 and had a big operation on it. Now there is a scar. Due to a disability that affects my nerves, my hands and feet are weaker than most. They look spindly. Angular. I don’t tend to see my body in fashion magazines. I see it in horror movies. I am the jump scare.
“… So if I sometimes get thoughts that are evil, and I look like so many filmmakers’ depiction of evil… Then maybe…”
“Maybe I need to find out if I am”
And this was the starting point to creating the show.
Come and see what I discovered: Helen Highwater.