Taking a fearless look at mental illness, The Baxter Theatre Centre present The Inconvenience of Wings, one of six plays they have brought to Edinburgh from Cape Town that explore issues not often talked about in popular media. We witness Sara’s devastating struggle with bipolar disorder and the effect it has on her relationship with her husband, Paul, and good friend, psychiatry professor, James. Beginning from the end of Sara’s story, the play jumps back in time to convey the true impact of bipolar disorder on the individual and those closest to her.
Starting with a scene after Sara’s death makes the rest of the show all the more heartbreaking to watch, forcing us to delve deeper into the strain her illness puts on her relationship. Sara’s manic episodes fill her with exuberance, frivolous spending and fantastical dreams and stories, whereas her depressive episodes lead to suicide attempts, shame and hopelessness. The Inconvenience of Wings is extremely effective in showing the reality of a story that does not always have a happy ending – no matter how much we will it to.
This story is incredibly significant for those who have or know someone who suffers from mental illness. It doesn’t hold back and portrays the reality faced by Sara everyday with brutal realism. Furthermore, it is an undeniably important piece of theatre for those who know little about mental illness: nothing is romanticised and nothing is sugarcoated.
Writer and director, Lara Foot has created a powerful narrative that is honest in its portrayal yet creative in its approach, making for excellent storytelling. The cast bring it to life beautifully, with small moments of comedy to lighten the atmosphere and moments of raw emotion, capturing the feelings of pain, suffering and love that emanates from the whole piece.
Words: Nastassia Sutherland
The Inconvenience of Wings, Assembly George Square Studios, Aug 19-27, 3.10pm