Reviewed by Andrew Dunlop 18/9/2010
Multi-award winning St. Helens poet Sue Gerrard performed ‘Choices’ at this year’s St. Helens Festival.
This piece explores themes of love, fulfilment and universal yearnings for greener grass lost or perhaps yet to be found. Sue vividly brings to life the unbridled optimism and joy of falling in love with evocative lines like “The world changed colour and I knew the sun would shine forever.” Later on in the performance Sue illustrates the love on the wane with “...the ghosts of yesterday come in between us”.
The piece contains three very different characters with entirely different lives but the fact that their names all share the same root - Suzy, Susan and Susannah - illustrates the fact that they are really versions of the same person, changed irrevocably by a life choice they made at some point in the past.
Each segment is begun by the performer placing herself in a chair marked with the next character’s name. This allows the previous character to be shed and the new one assumed.
All of the characters have an air of reality about them. They have personality traits and aspirations that we can all identify with to some extent or other. Each character has several poems which define and illustrate their persona and experiences of life.
Sue engages both the audience’s sympathy and their empathy by presenting her characters with decisions that face almost every woman in their lives and, in turn, almost every man will see the effect of those decisions on the woman he loves.
Sue Gerrard will be taking the show on the road in the coming months, so keep an eye out.
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