Apologies for the slight delay, unfortunately this month I've had a slightly-hectic-yoghurt-related-laptop-disaster BUT that's all sorted now and funnily enough today has significance to the new content so I guess this all works out for the best.
Today is World Mental Health Day. So I decided to do a special edition to commemorate that. With various motivations from various different forms of culture I realised that I didn't have to look any further than the plays I had read this month and the albums I already listened to, to do this.
So now I can finally bring you my latest edition, a shorter one at that, of my club centred around some of the culture that got me thinking about what's important in September.
Book: A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad), Jon Brittain
Weirdly yesterday, unknowing what day it was today, I came across a play that in my experience perfectly represents a mental health issue that affects many people, far more than you probably realise.
(Interjection/Disclosure: Since I am applying for drama school this coming year, the 'Novel' section of this club will most likely always be changed to 'Book' as I am frantically searching for monologues and so it will usually be a play, sorry if this doesn't interest you.)
Most specifications for drama school auditions simply state monologues to be of a certain length and from a certain time. However several I have researched this year have stated that the speeches you use should be related to your own age and experience which can often be difficult to find. I think it's often easy to pick something as dramatic as possible on the surface as people can think that the more harrowing a story, the more acting required and therefore the best display of your ability. However it has become clear to me that this isn't the case as usually the more subtle the monologue the better as it requires a more truthful performance.
Well this is what I'm going for anyway and I decided to find something I can relate to, something that I could find truth in but is not too heavy and all 'woe is me' because thats not what I trying to display.
I then saw that the National Theatre Bookshop twitter was doing a #MonologueMonday session to request pieces for certain specifications and that Jon Brittain's A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) was recommended for 'a woman, 19-25, modern and something fairly light hearted' so I decided to look it up.
The blurb reads 'Sally is a happy person. She doesn't let little things get her down and almost never cries. But now she's got an illness. It makes her feel like she isn't that person anymore... And she doesn't want anyone to know about it.' This really struck me and I wanted to find out more so I read it. Accompanied by songs throughout to lighten the piece, it's resonance is strong and heartfelt but simple. It gives light on the illness that I know myself has 'no reason' and the simplicity and and truth of the understanding is what I fell in love with just a little bit.
I intend to read this over and over and will almost definitely work on a piece from the play for auditions so I would recommend to anyone who has ever felt like this or wants to understand a little better the reason why sometimes people act the way they do for different reasons or sometimes no reason at all.
Next an album on the same theme; now, I have always been a fan of Paramore.
When I was at school RIOT and Brand New Eyes were what I used to have on repeat through revision and the like but the self titled 2013 album Paramore was what led me to be a serious fan. Since the release of the American band's fourth album which gave us songs such as 'Still Into You', 'Ain't it Fun' and my personal favourites being the passively psychotic '(One of Those) Crazy Girls' and softer ‘Hate to See Your Heart Break’ left me waiting patiently for four years for the follow up.
So. Worth. The wait.
This album is entirely different to anything Paramore have ever released. In the best possible way.
Rolling Stone noted that the album ‘symbolises the band’s reunion with drummer Zac Farro, whose acrimonious departure from the band in 2010 presaged their fuller turn from the rock world into pop’ and this most likely the reason for the vibe being totally different. In all honesty, I’ve had this album on repeat since July so I’m possibly a little late to the party, however since I STILL cannot get enough of this album and have only just got it on vinyl (it’s white marble- I’m obsessed!), it’s totally appropriate for my September edition.
So highlights for me are probably the upbeat Hard Times, Pool and Rose Coloured Boy purely for the nature of the groovy tunes and lyrics. In fact the whole album is just awesome for any situation, what makes great headphones music also makes a good choice for a party.
But what stands out for me complies again with what day it is today and what I’ve discussed earlier on in this blog. The formidable vocalist of Paramore, Hayley Williams, has recently opened up about her ongoing battle with depression saying in a recent interview "I don’t think I understood how dangerous hopelessness is. Everything hurts,“ and that is so evident across this album. My heart breaks a little every time I listen to ‘Fake Happy’ as the truth behind the haunting guitar opening explicitly and openly displays the rest of the song as, well a disguise, and ‘drawing my lipstick wider than my mouth’, indicates the fragility of mental health and how easy it is to hide that from others, especially in a position of fame and influence.
This is important.
Talking about mental health leads to awareness and that is what today is all about. Hayley using her platform to discuss this is a great example of what needs to be done more.