Two arts projects supported by the ME Association which depict different aspects of living with invisible illness will be coming to screens really near you next year.
First away will be ‘Illusions of Liberty’, a feisty comedy-drama by playwright Lorna Wells who has M.E. She’s won a grant from Arts Council England to stage the show in East London while livestreaming the performances. They will take place on February 15, 16 and 17.
It’s a one-woman show about a fictional cellist called Liberty Jones, who has been plagued with ever-increasing signs of chronic illness.
Eventually Liberty gets her diagnosis and the play follows her for the next four days as she struggles with that new-found knowledge, her relationship with her mother and what it means to have an illness no one can actually see.
Tickets for the 85-minute show fronted by professional actor Corinne Walker are now on sale from the Applecart Arts Centre in Upton Park.
The play has been developed by Lorna since it was first performed and received good reviews at the King’s Head pub theatre in Islington, north London, in 2019.
Lorna has now added quotes about the impact of living with invisible illness which were contributed by people who took part in an online survey publicised by the MEA.
Lorna said: “I started writing this story four years ago, because I wanted to tell the story of what is like to live with an invisible illness, as I do. I wanted to write a comedy, because I enjoy it, and also I notice that people use comedy as a coping mechanism, as I do.
“It is ironic that since the pandemic, things have become more accessible for people who have had limited accessibility to art. Now theatre, galleries, etc. can be enjoyed virtually, as can meetings and socialising. This is great for me as it opens up my world.”
Proceeds from the show will be shared between the ME Association and two other charities, Lupus UK and Ehlers-Danlos Support UK.
LORNA WELLS BRIEF BIOG
Since going down with M.E. some years ago, Lorna has had to chop and change between careers, rediscovering different skills each time. She was a singer-songwriter, ran a dance and vocal workshop creating mini-musicals for children and run a music agency before becoming a professional writer.
Her musical ‘It Tastes Like Home’ had three theatre runs in 2016, 2017 and 2018. She started an MA in Writing for Musical Theatre at Goldsmiths, University of London.
More details about ‘Illusions of Liberty’.
Coming along later will be ‘Chronic’, a short film about the tensions that build up in an early relationship where one of the partners has a chronic, invisible illness.
Life for Rob and Sadie, who have just moved in together, is not all it’s luvved up to be. Sadie’s chronic illness complicates their plans and begins to govern their relationship.
Sadie and Rob have been planning on moving in together for a year now. In that year, Sadie has experienced debilitating chronic fatigue and pain. Move-in day is here. But it doesn’t look like either of them imagined.
The next week brings with it intensified symptoms for Sadie and a complicated doctor’s appointment. The couple struggle to know how to hold onto their relationship, and each other.
Two of the leading lights in this women-led group of film-makers both have M.E. – script writer Charlotte Paradise and director Milly Garnier. Milly will be remembered for her animated short film called ‘All About M.E.’ which was made in 2016.
Crowd-funding on the Indiegogo platform was completed so successfully that the group have been able to make a donation of £400 to the ME Association – from 5% of the donations.
Charlotte is a screenwriter, playwright and published journalist who was diagnosed with ME/CFS in 2014 and hEDS in 2020.
She recently gained a Master’s degree in Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Her theatrical credits include ‘Mess’ (Warwick Arts Centre), ‘Know You Well’ (Southwark Playhouse) and ‘Why am I Soft in the Middle?’ (CSSD).
Milly’s directing debut was ‘The Leaving Party,’ funded by a £20,000 grant from the inaugural Female Film Force. It premiered at a private screening in association with the London Short Film Festival, before its first public showing at the 2019 Underwire Festival in London, where it was nominated for best screenwriting.
Her other directing credits include, ‘The Dinner Party’ (Chalkboard Productions, 2019) and ‘All About M.E.’
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