Jade Anouka’s show, ‘HEART’ pulled at emotions that many of us forgot we had.
First thing I notice as I walk into the dimly lit Unity theatre Liverpool and rush to find my seat, is the already extremely minimalistic setting. All that appears on stage is a high chair, table and a music stand.
I’m feeling a little apprehensive at how so few objects on stage will fulfil an hour long one-woman performance through poetry, but it works.
Jade transported us to a world of her younger self, starting at 24-years-old, a young energetic woman who has just met the love of her life. This is where the story telling begins, a show written and performed by herself.
Shown as part of Homotopia festival, the longest running LGBTQIA arts and culture festival.
About a seemingly perfect marriage and socially constructed ideas of love. Yet, she is being haunted by a beast, her mind is telling her that something isn’t right.
The man she loves is dealing with his own inner demons of depression and anger. Yet, our protagonist with bright eyes and full of enthusiasm, keeps referring to herself as trying to be the ‘ideal wife’. Her job is believed to ease his pain, however difficult it may be.
After trying to make the relationship work, Jade realises that she cannot stay in this toxic relationship any longer. She must leave to find her own happiness and self-love.
It is a touching story of a young woman dealing with heartbreak and loneliness entwined with the excitement of being young.
Most importantly this is a story of how you can find love in the most unexpected and special ways. For our performer she surprised herself when she fell hopelessly and unconditionally in love with a woman.
Thoughts on the performance
What I loved about this performance was it wasn’t purely just a coming out story. It was so eloquently written by a woman drawing from situations where she felt vulnerable.
She allowed the audience to follow her through her heartache and the impact of feeling alone and inadequacy can have on your mental health.
She managed to set the scene with only a dramatic change of stage lighting. Transforming herself from a broken-hearted woman who’s just ended her first relationship, to a slightly older and wiser version of herself releasing her true feelings for the woman she thought she had lost.
Even the slight bursts of humour throughout were a real treat. The slight pauses as she turned her head from side to side recreating the conversation between herself and her religious mother, who couldn’t help but bring out the bible as soon as she mentioned her affections for a woman in her life.
It was an emotional yet funny rollercoaster that most human beings have endured. Jade made sure to end on a powerful statement about how you should be able to love who you want to love.
Calling for everyone to not live by labels and to be proud to be openly queer. It was spoken from the heart and united all the audience, both young and old, in a feeling of complete self- acceptance.
Everyone should see this powerful performance that Jade delivered with so much energy exposing the rawness of real life, but always with a touch of humour.