Summerhall – Anatomy Lecture Theatre
Have you ever imagined how it would feel to take a walk into someone’s throat and down into their lungs? If you’re curious to find out, you can head to the Anatomy Lecture Theatre at Summerhall, where Sarah-Louise Young uses storytelling and puppetry to illustrate her journey from fears of irreparable voice loss, to restoring it in full.
A professional singer and theatre-maker, Sarah-Louise welcomes us into the auditorium whilst carrying on with her warm-up exercises. There’s no such a thing as a fourth wall in this show as she address us directly whilst sharing her autobiographical story. She’s relaxed and immediately puts us at ease.
A fable tone and the allegory of a young mermaid are used to get straight into the heart of the matter. The mermaid loved her song more than anything else, but a cruel seaman took it away from her. These vignettes are intertwined with her own recollections of a lifetime. From when, aged seven, she adored swimming, to when she got given the silence treatment for a week, following surgery to her vocal cords.
The consultations and medical proceedings are described in great detail. The underlying psychological reasons behind the weakness of her voice emerge as such an unlikely cause that it is often overlooked; hearing about them is a sobering insight. Funny how athletes talk with pride about their injuries and the way they overcame them, whereas singers who disclose having had surgery struggle to get cast. It’s a cruel industry.
Young is an intelligent storyteller, and her self-penned work strikes a good balance between informative and entertaining. There are some interesting explanations of how the vocal cords works and the voice is produced. A beautiful pink scarf becomes a fascinating visual aid that adds value to the production. On a few occasions, she even delights us with her singing, ultimate proof that her voice is well and truly recovered.
Written by: Sarah-Louise Young
Directed by: Sioned Jones
Produced by: Sarah-Louise Young
The Silent Treatment plays at EdFringe 2022 at 1.50pm daily until 28 August. Further information and bookings here.