Review Illusions of Liberty, Applecart Arts by Tanica Psalmist

The online stream ‘Illusions of Liberty’ was Produced & Written by Lorna Wells, Directed by Aisling Gallagher, Performed by Corinne Walker as Liberty Jones, Lighting & Sound design by Chuma Emembolu, set/costume designer by Sally Hardcastle , assistant director/stage manager by Gwenan Bain, Cello played by Meera Priyanka Raja, Produced by Rebecca Dilg & Filmed by Applecarts Theatre.

The themes associated with this production are pain, health, hope judgement, loss, self-doubt, discrimination, love & wellbeing.  Illusions of Liberty is a comedic & heart-felt one woman show, featuring a live cello player whose ambience brought an intensifying effect, mainly because the musical harmony was an emotional & mental depiction of the character Liberty’s mindset. What we saw in sequences was how Liberty’s mind gradually weakened & deteriorated overtime from her internal inflictions from baring a chronic illness & the misconstrued inputs from healthcare professionals which had then left the state of her mind bewildered, detached & deprecated. The set was kept minimal and the mis-en-scene was kept simple with few infrequent light changes, deviating between dim & low lighting.

This play is the journey of a Black woman living in a biased society with a chronic illness & the feelings associated, such as losing confidence and strength, lacking security due to the disparity between misconceptions & battling the unseen of what makes her body, mind & soul feel disconnected from the world and invisibly paralysed. The sounds from the live cello were compelling, projecting various interpretations of herself before when she was a principal cellist & her now as a defiled, deflated & dismissed health-case, affected by a global illness.

Illusions of Liberty consciously aims to raise awareness on the insecurities that influences people’s self-esteem, ongoing disputes with concerned relatives, constant inward sanity checks; as well as restoring relationships that were self-doubted, eventually realising the reality to accept those who acknowledge your essential qualities such as inward beauty, sexiness, talent & humour, willing to be strong enough for the both, irrespective of brain fog and invisible lines that occasionally occur as chronic symptoms.

Corinne Walker
‘Liberty Jones’

Liberty and her mum throughout the play struggle to connect, however they authentically synchronise with moments of laughter towards the end. The plot twist being that her mother had been battling with the chronic illness PTSD for 20yrs, never disclosing this to her loved ones. The unexpected exposure allows the mother and daughter for the first time to relate and emotionally support each other, sharing warmth & unison symbolically chanting healing, safety, support and understanding.

Illusions of Liberty is informative, transparent and resonating for many who can relate or who know of someone who can. Circulating mental, emotional, physical and spiritual complications that’s presented when faced with an invisible illness. As well as what strength, courage, perseverance and freedom truly looks like beyond the surface.  

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