There’s been quite a lot of work on the script over the past few months, in preparation for this weekend’s research and development period with the artistic team. I’ve met individually with Hanna (dramaturg) and Anna (director), collectively with all the medical and artistic professionals involved (in awe of the breadth and depth of brilliance around the table), and individually with the neuro-experts (with my five pounds of medical notes in tow!)
It has been extremely useful for me to go back and discuss my experience with the Head Injury Nurse, Consultant Neurosurgeon and Consultant Neuropsychologist who supported me (and Gráinne) through my illness. When writing a script, you have to consider the emotional journey of the story, the highs and lows, the rollercoaster. The highs and lows Gráinne and I experienced are vastly different that the medical professionals’ journeys, mostly because of their vocational distance.
And the simple fact that it’s my story. They weren’t inside my body when I was contemplating whether I’d be able to wear heels on the dance floor again and finding strength in Frida Kahlo’s story. They haven’t been inside my head when aural fatigue hits and my inner ears feel on fire, so much so that what used to be an enjoyable social evening in a busy restaurant with friends is a neuro-assault that leaves me tired, upset and very rude. Really rude.
But nobody has. And nobody knows the disappointment when you realize your aspirations, informed by your previous memory of your pre-brain injury capabilities, are trumped by a very fuzzy, very foggy, very smushy, mushy bad brain day. It’s like being flattened by that foot in the intro of the Monthy Python show.
Which, I suppose, is the main reason why I’m doing this project. The artists and I are launching back into my head this weekend, with the following visual aids depicting the emotional rollercoaster, and developed on from previous work: