"A much-loved Australian monologue based on Sancia Robinson's own experiences of recovering from anorexia and bulimia."
Does the thought of hearing an hour of dramatic negative self-talk seem frustrating, exhausting and boring? Good! That uncomfortable feeling is only a taste of what its like to suffer a mental illness. What Is The Matter With Mary Jane? is a much-loved Australian monologue based on Sancia Robinson's own experiences of recovering from anorexia and bulimia.
A piece that's been performed for over 25 years, the solo drama written by Robinson and comedic gem Wendy Harmer takes the audience into the painful reality of a woman afflicted by eating disorders. The current production features a young actor Gabrielle Savrone, who delivers an exceptional performance of the range of emotions of the young Sancia. The single room setting features walls of mirrors in which Sancia's body dysmorphia is reflected. The mirrors also induce an extraordinary self-awareness that the audience bears witness to during her struggle but is seemingly powerless to intervene.
The roller-coaster of denial, punishment and pleasure is enacted through the guise of fake television shows, games and asides. "I can't, I have to feed my cat." The desperately sad is made surprisingly funny in scenes where the lies told to avoid dining out are rendered ridiculous. Pop culture references meet physical theatre in a stand-out cooking show segment called Bingeing With Sancia, which guest stars a blender, a smorgasbord of food and a toilet. It's disturbing but sadly representative of the horrific nature of self-punishment rituals.
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It's a heart-wrenching tale but very important food for thought and, as mentioned, is a play regularly performed in schools across the country. As the rate of eating disorders among young people continues to rise, this extraordinary piece provides a painful portrait for sufferers and some solace to carers for time to come.