When Everything's Normal Will You Forget?

Ink Asher Hemp
Graeae

Ink Asher Hemp Credit: Graeae
Ink Asher Hemp Credit: Graeae

In this week’s offering in Graeae’s Crips Without Constraints plays, commissioned from deaf and disabled artists working in isolation, Ink Asher Hemp performs his own somewhat surreal monologue. Actually it isn’t quite a monologue for he seems to be on both sides of the counter (or in this case the Internet connection) in dealing with the Department for Work and Pensions: both Diane in the benefit office and a claimant.

If it's not entirely comprehensible, somewhat confusing, that’s exactly the effect that such encounters can produce as you try to negotiate the bureaucratic labyrinth, as you’ll know if you’ve every tried to make a claim (and that’s many more of us than usual at the moment). Here is someone who has lived with the system a long time reaching out a welcome hand and wondering how much you will remember of what life is like for a claimant when this crisis is over, when you get back to your “normal” and out of what is his normal.

Ink Hasher Hemp (directed by Nickie Miles-Wildin) delivers a performance that connects as it blends genuine caring with frustration, hope with desolation. It is a message that gains power from the way it is delivered.

Reviewer: Howard Loxton