Today i went to see this as i had read about it on Shannons website. Let me backtrack a little though.
A few months ago on Twitter, I somehow stumbled across a website by a lady called Shannon Yee. Somebody that i follow must have tweeted about her or something. I went on to her website and liked the look of what I saw. It sounded like an interesting art form. Basically you are lying in a hospital bed to experience the purely audio piece which takes you on a journey of Shannons brain injury. I don’t know what attracted me, but it sounded interesting.
When i looked on Shannons
I was disappointed to read that her tour dates were either sold out, or in far away places which wouldn’t be the easiest to get to. That was until a couple of weeks ago when i discovered she was coming to the “Bounce” arts festival which celebrates work from deaf and disabled artests across Northern Ireland. It is hosted by the Arts and Disability forum and funded by various funders.
Today I headed off to the Lyric Theatre, where most of Bounce is taking place this year. I was kindly met by someone from the ADF who walked me down from the bus stop to the Lyric. Since we were early, we headed up to the caffe to wait until the room was ready for us. Someone from the Lyric came up to make sure we were alright too, and assist me since the ADF person had to leave.
When we went downstairs again, we were met by Shannon herself. Apparently she doesn’t be there for all her shows, but she decided to come today. I felt quite privlidged to meet her. Before you go in, you have to fill in an “admission” sheet so that Shannon knows who attends each of her shows for the people who fund her piece. She can only have up to 4 people at each performance. We also had to sign a disclaimer which stated that we understood what the piece was about.
Shannon then led us in to the room where the beds were. There was only me and the lady from the Lyric in this performance. Shannon then explained what would happen and if we were uncomfortable at any time, we could take the headphones off. Shannon then told us to relax our shoulders. I said she sounded like a yoga teacher lol. We were then given eye masks and the headphones were slipped over our heads. I found the eye mask itchy though so i just took it off. Shannon was in the room the whole time should we need anything. When Shannon is not there, someone else would supervise the performance. The performance used Binoral technology to make it as real as possible. We were also given a medical bracelet that you would get in hospital which said what the performance was called.
I don’t even know how to describe the performance without giving too much away. The brain infection came on so quickly it really was quite shocking. The performance made you feel as if you were Shannon and you were getting stuck with needles and things even though you weren’t. Even though there were other people in the room, it felt as if it was just you in that hospital bed. It also touched on the strain it was for her partner and the emotions they both went through. I think they could have touched a little more on the support they both got, but it was only a 45 minute performance so they had a lot to squeeze in.
I’m still thinking about the performance now. It really was a powerful piece. I’d recommend people going to see it from now until Sunday as that’s when Bounce ends. Even doctors and that can go to it as it could be sued as a medical tool. It really is an experience and really makes you think. There are a few F bombs in it though, so that’s something to bare in mind if you’re not keen on that kind of language.
At the end of the performance, Shannon counted each person in and tapped them gently on the shoulder to let them know the performance had ended. She then gave you a few minutes to gather yourself before going over to a table to fill in the “Discharge” paperwork. These were questions from the “admission” sheet but you could change some of the answers if you needed to. It also gave audience members a chance to ask questions. I found myself worrying for Shannon, but now you wouldn’t know she had been so sick. She is a remarkable woman who has made a tremendous recovery.
To finish, we watched an optional “making of” the film. I don’t think this should have been optional as it explained how and why it was made.
I would like to thank Shannon for personally coming to todays showings of her performance and thank her for the time she took to explain everything not just to me, but to the other audience members too. Such a lovely lovely woman. I wish her all the best for the future.
Remember Bounce is on from the 3rd to the 6th September at the Lyric theatre, Belfast. For tickets, search online for the ADF.