Loneliness on stage
Research has revealed that loneliness can be as impactful on one’s health as smoking. So how do we combat loneliness? How do we talk about it? Local performance artists Marissa Treichel, Rohini Drury, Ruth Walker, Danielle Linegar, and Justine Grantham have been working with Drill Hall creative director Liz Chance on TLC– a dance and movement show that shines the light on loneliness and connection. The Cassettes’ choreographer, performance artist and participant Marissa Treichel, spoke with Seven.
What inspired you to create the loneliness project?
I read an incredible article in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend, which described the epidemic levels loneliness has reached. Shortly before Covid struck, the UK’s minister for Loneliness described it as the biggest public health crisis of our time. There’s something so poignant and poetic about having such an official title, ‘minister for loneliness’, for such a personal sensation. You know something has become a major problem, when even the government is paying attention: those cogs move slowly.
How did you create the show from concept to stage?
In a very fluid and organic way. Which, being anal, has been challenging for me! Each person has created a number of scenes. We’ve collaged these together under the guidance of Vicki, who is directing the show. There are personal stories, facts ’n’ stats, creative interpretations of the theme, and a really good soundtrack: look up ‘Lonely’ on Spotify. It doesn’t disappoint!
How have you experienced loneliness?
I share this in the show. We all do, creatively and through direct storytelling. For me, it’s always when I’m with others, but I feel separate and disconnected. It’s such a painful sensation – probably why I love group processes and holding space in classes so much. I love creating belonging and inclusion. I hate seeing people being excluded.
In our small community is this a theme that touches people do you think? Even where we seem more connected?
For sure. Think of the mums’ group where you’re just feeling the bond, but you ought to. Or the book club where you don’t feel heard. Or the disparity in wealth… there are lots of different ways exclusion and disconnection occur.
For me, I never want to disregard my principles in order to be included and connected. So sometimes that means being the odd one out. Gender stereotypes, for example: I’m going to speak up about that, and it can ruffle feathers…
What should people expect?
A fun, deep, silly serious, heartfelt show. Including a seated dance workshop to Total Eclipse of the Heart.See you there!
TLC: The Loneliness Connection, Dance Theatre Show. Sunday 2 May 2021, 2pm.
Tickets $25 www.drillhalltheatre.org.au