DramaPulse FestivalReviewSouth EastSpoken Word

PULSE FESTIVAL: All The Things I Lied About – New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Writer and Performer: Katie Bonna
Reviewer: Paul Couch

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” So says the character Father Zosima in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s 1880 novel, The Brothers Karamazov.

Katie Bonna is a liar. She’s not a malicious liar, she believes, just the run-of-the-mill kind of liar. We all tell them, of course – “Yes, you look great in that five sizes too small tee-shirt” / “No, I’ve not been to the pub – I was held up at a late meeting” to the more serious “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” / “Leaving the EU will give us an extra £350million a week to be spent on the NHS”.

Bonna’s contribution to PULSE Festival 2017, All The Things I Lied About, is an examination of how if we lie long enough and often enough and convincingly enough, we can actually believe we’re telling the truth. In Donald Trump’s “alternative truths” post-truth world, where any news that doesn’t correspond with his version of events is deemed “fake news”, Bonna explores through personal recollections how a web of lies threatened to tear her own immediate family apart.

All The Things I Lied About is given in the style of a faux TED Talk, direct address with occasional audience participation. It starts off upbeat enough but Bonna’s recounting of how deception and the accompanying “gaslighting” (the art of convincing someone that the deceitfulness they suspect the perpetrator of is a symptom of their own mental instability) clearly affected her irrevocably.

It’s raw, harrowing stuff and perhaps not for those who have been through similar experiences. The problem is that Bonna suggests no resolution or redemption, no hope nor even a coping mechanism. The implication is that, once we become victims, we are forever broken by the lies of those we trust to the point that we involuntarily become guilty of the same behaviours.

Depressing yet compelling stuff.

Reviewed on 1 June 2017

www.pulseipswich.co.uk  |  @pulseipswich #pulse17

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Depressing yet compelling

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