Words: Jasmine Uitermark-Thaung
The other week I sat down with Daley King, the writer, producer and performer of i’m not alright, presented by the chaos ensemble. King’s Fringe World 2016 offering comes in its raw form, exploring depression in an honest interpretation as he sees it with varied forms of puppetry, jazz music, storytelling and physical theatre. We decided it would be interesting to delve into why this show is different from several other live theatre pieces that choose to tread the waters of mental health, often missing the real issue or sugar coating a problem one in six Australian’s experience in their lifetime.
“It is a hot button topic, it is a very in vogue topic to attack especially in theatre and in film because it does get your attention to an extent. There are a lot of shows that have dealt with mental illness and it seems they’re doing it just because it’s a hot topic. I think the reason my show is different or at least unique in a way is that this show is literally my honest stories, my experiences with mental illness both in my family and with myself,” says King.
For the show the most important aspect to Daley King was to not gloss over his experiences. “There are a lot of people who add on bits just because they can. I’m very cynical about other shows because I feel like the best way to talk about mental health issues is to be honest about your experiences, not to pretend that they’re something they’re not.”
Taking a brutally honest angle in how i’m not alright is presented, I posed the question as to whether it may scare people off to which King responded that his decision in how he performed the show wasn’t one made lightly. “With this show I’m not necessarily trying to make money and I think that’s one of the things that stops people, especially with Fringe. It’s like do I make my show audience friendly and that everyone will enjoy it so I get lots of audience members and I make enough money to support myself which you have to consider, or do I do a show that’s brutally honest with what it’s about and whether people are offended by it or agree or disagree with it, that’s up to them,” said King.
Speaking about performing the show at Melbourne’s Fringe World, Daley King described his experience to me of one night performing the show to a dad and his son in the audience.
“The dad had brought his son to the show because he was going through some stuff so I performed just to them and after the show they came up to me and the dad said ‘that helped me understand’ and the son kinda just looked at me. It sounds like a very cliché thing but if I could help just one person come away with the understanding that other people do know what they’re going through then that’s great.”
With Fringe World offering such a unique experience when it comes to audience interaction, new experiences and the not so ordinary, King hopes audience members will come and talk to him after the show to offer feedback. “I want people to tell me whether the way I’m presenting it works, I want it to be a very open forum.”
i’m not alright will be showing as part of Fringe World from February 15th to the 21st at the Parrott House.