In this blog post, House of Blakewell’s Alice Keedwell writes about why musical and comedy might be the best genres for difficult topics such as anxiety.
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Why write a comedy musical about anxiety?
That is a very good question isn’t it. Why would someone who battles with anxiety decide to tell their story as a musical…with added dancing. There are definitely times when I’m not sure but then also times when I am very sure, depending on the time of day, the temperature, whether I have the right shoes on, how weird I sounded on the phone to the bank last week, how much coffee I’ve had, if I managed to get up early, if my friend is still furious with me for saying ‘see you soon’ not ‘can’t wait to see you soon’, if I’ve got the right milk in, what I had for lunch and the angle of the moon… Still, I’ve done it now haven’t I so I suppose I should really know the answer.
I guess music, comedy and anxiety wouldn’t necessarily be things you’d think of putting together but I think music and comedy can be really helpful tools when talking about things that can be quite hard. As a company House of Blakewell have always been interested in writing about the things that affect us in the world, using our own experiences and tackling serious subjects in a playful way (often with tap dancing and the occasional recorder duet.)
I wanted to write about my own experiences because I wanted to write something based on the truth, scary as that has been, but that I hope is also relate-able to others. I think it always helps to know you’re not alone. EVERYTHING IS ABSOLUTELY FINE is about trying to keep going, what it’s like to be human when things get tough, how the little things can get really difficult in life (I mean, the supermarket can be a very daunting place sometimes….) and this old friend of mine that I have kept hidden for so long. The show is also about how kind and amazing humans can be, and what a difference that can make to someone.
I certainly don’t think I’m an expert or have all the answers, but I hope that my story might be helpful to someone. I hope it might encourage people to talk about tough times if they want to. I’ve received such kindness when I’ve opened up about the struggles I’ve had, it’s made the world of difference, more than I can ever say. I’ve also been overwhelmed with support whilst making this show. I think that’s something to celebrate with a lovely big song (which will be written by Harry Blake, the Blake to my Well and one of the reasons I have the courage to do any of this).