Guest Blog: Daniella Isaacs On HEAR ME RAW

Guest Blog: Daniella Isaacs On HEAR ME RAW
Hear Me Raw

In March 2017, I had a pang in my stomach. I was used to having hunger pangs (I lived a gluten-sugar-dairy-meat-fun free diet back then), but this was something different. I had this visceral desire to write.

The last time I had experienced this feeling was when I decided to create Mush and Me alongside two power women: Karla Crome and Rosy Banham. Mush and Me went on to win the IdeasTap Underbelly Award and The Holden Street Theatres Award, as well as a run at the Bush Theatre. I knew that a feeling like that one couldn't be ignored.

In March 2017, I was a wannabe wellness guru (hunger pangs explained). To pay the rent whilst repaying my drama school debt, I was ghostwriting for some of the world's most renowned wellness gurus. I spent my days spouting candy-coloured phrases of empowerment which revolved around chia seeds and yoga. I followed a regimented timetable of gym classes, smoothie rituals and carefully planned meals.

And my god - I had the taut abs to prove it. If you'd scrolled through my Instagram profile, you'd have thought I had my life sorted. Peel back the filter though, and I was far from well. I hadn't had a period in two years, I had thin bones, my hair was falling out, my anxiety was sky-high, I had terrible night sweats...the list goes on. I had fallen head first down the 'wellness hole' (just like any other OCD rabbit hole) and had lost my individuality and creativity whilst I was down there.

In March 2017, my sister told me she was pregnant. It was only then that I recognised my obsession with wellness was making me sick. It was in the week that my sister had told me about her bump that I went out for dinner with my very talented friend and director, Rosy (director of Mush and Me), and whilst I was anxiously reading the menu, I mentioned the pang I had in my stomach.

Guest Blog: Daniella Isaacs On HEAR ME RAW
Hear Me Raw

I wanted make another show with her. I wanted to make a show about the wellness world. I recognised that in an industry which is focused on being happy all the time, a huge amount of angst and sadness is being suppressed underneath. Those antithetical feelings meant the opportunity for drama was rife.

Rosy shared my creative hunger, but her one condition was that she would only get on board if the show was autobiographical. She wasn't interested in making a try-hard version of Fleabag. We needed to move on from that. If the wellness world is all about a false perception of reality then as the writer I needed to be brave enough to expose my truth.

Hear Me Raw is an autobiographical account of my journey through the world of contemporary wellness. It's about food, anxiety, death and control. The show removes the Instagram filter to reveal the dirty truth behind the clean living movement, and the existential angst at the centre of the millennial experience.

It's based on my own experience of working within the wellness industry and developing an eating disorder which dominated my life for a number of years. It's funny, dark and genre-bending. It's also packed with superfoods and very, very messy.

Guest Blog: Daniella Isaacs On HEAR ME RAW
Hear Me Raw

The show had a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, followed by another at Soho Theatre. It was also nominated for The Scotsman's Mental Health Fringe Award. It's coming to the Arcola next month and the timing of the run couldn't be better.

At the start of the year, there is a ridiculous amount of pressure on all of us to subscribe to 'wellness'. Through performing this show, I hope to raise awareness of the damage that the wellness industry is causing, and it is my mission to get people to reconsider what wellness actually means.

Wellness is about balance. It's about breaking down the stigma of mental health. It's about celebrating our uniqueness. That's a far cry from what the wellness industry has us believe.

To 2018, a year of no more hunger pangs and endless creative ones.

P.s. Through writing the show.... I got my period back. That's wellness.

Hear Me Raw at Arcola Theatre 12-24 February

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From This Author Guest Blog: Daniella Isaacs

  • Guest Blog: Daniella Isaacs On HEAR ME RAW
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