Tuesday, July 5

Alexithymia – GM Fringe Online

Alexithymia is a term used in psychiatry as “the inability to recognise or describe one’s own emotions”. Although not a core feature of autism, it can affect as many as 50% diagnosed with it.

In Madison Weinhoffer’s short theatre piece, which runs at less than twenty-five minutes, we are following the journey of “Friend”, who is a lost being needing assistance to find their way back to who they are.

The production starts as more art installation than theatre. Projected images and music add to a general sense of confusion and disorder. The letters which spell the title of the show mix and disintegrate as watch.

Friend and voices engage as abstract images are shown on a landscape we can only partly see, but not fully appreciate. Then the show becomes more of a traditional theatre piece, with shadows, puppets, lights and music.

A chatty muppet dripping with sass. A sense of belonging.  When there are words, they are profound and poetic (“I live in that space on your face where a smile breaks out”). This is a muddle of speech and letters, of place and time.

In Alexithymia, we experience moments, memories, movements, but always as hints and glimpses, as ‘Friend’ follows a journey of the senses to find out how our minds create connections from where we go, what we remember, and who we meet.

This is a challenging piece to watch, as “lessons don’t always come neat and presentable”.  Weinhoffer explores the self, the emotions and the sense of self, and the confusion around communication and the inability to always assign words to feelings.

By utilising masks, puppets and shadows, this female-led piece of devised theatre celebrates the beauty of difference and the creation of neurodiverse spaces within the arts. As Weinhoffer performs with her co-creatives Sarah Kinn (who plays ‘Friend’) and Connor Sale (lighting designer), a curious and intriguing show unfolds.

You can follow Madison Weinhoffer at her Instagram account – www.instagram.com/realityleaves// She currently works with Spectrum Theatre Ensemble (www.stensemble.org) and devising company Casual Collison.

Alexithymia is streaming at 6pm daily as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe until 30th September. Book here https://manchester.ssboxoffice.com/events/alexithymia/  

Reviewer: Louise Penn

Reviewed: 2nd September 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★