Quarter Life Crisis: What’s it like being 25 in 21st-century London?

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Ovalhouse’s Associate Artist Yolanda Mercy returns with a coming of age comedy. Quarter Life Crisis presents an upbeat take on the millennial phenomenon of big dreams, no cash, going viral, YouTube tutorials, having numerous zero-hour contracts, and surrendering the 16-25 railcard. She explains her inspiration for the new show, running this week…

We live in a world where everyone is constantly bombarded with information. Hours can be spent on a timeline, which celebrates everyone’s achievements. Even the achievements of people who met once on a night out and be-friended on Facebook. I wrote Quarter Life Crisis as a reaction to all of that noise. Not only was I told how well people were doing in life, because they were getting married or having children, but I was faced with a huge life changing event…the end of my 16-25 Railcard discount. Yes. No more discounted travel. Just full priced adult stress… which I wasn’t ready for. So, I wrote Quarter Life Crisis.

Quarter Life Crisis takes you on the journey of Alicia, a 25-year-old Londoner “born and bred”, but with roots tracing to Nigeria. Everyone around her seems to know what they doing with their life, but she’s just trying to find ways to cheat the system and keep her 16-25 railcard.

This is my second solo performance, but with a slight twist. Without giving too much away, I have a musician on stage who live mixes addictive basslines, audience participation plus we encourage the audience to the keep the experience of the show going with the #QuarterLifeCrisis.

“When I write plays, I always try to root the narrative in some sort truth…meaning I get inspiration from my life, the world around me, friends and family.”

As an artist, I am very passionate about telling stories and creating worlds that are based around our current existence. This is important for me, as I feel that theatre has the power to tell stories that can help break barriers. I started this way of working when I created On The Edge Of Me which was selected by Ideas Tap and Rich Mix to win their Big city, Small stories award. On The Edge of Me tackled graduate unemployment and mental health issues, and was told through a character Remi.

Remi (played by me), wants to be a poet but doesn’t know how and, as the play unfolds, we see how her upbeat energy/life style morphs into unknown territory. I worked on this piece with long time collaborators Jade Lewis (director) and Gemma Lloyd (producer). We were overwhelmed by the response to the show as many audiences said “that’s my story on stage”, which made me realise that the stories I am telling seem to resonate with an audience who aren’t always represented on stage.

When I write plays, I always try to root the narrative in some sort truth…meaning I get inspiration from my life, the world around me, friends and family. This is very important for me, because I want to make work that appeals to audiences who feel that theatre doesn’t always have space for their stories. I feel that the more I write, the more I realise that being a playwright is very cathartic- because I have always loved seeing shows but rarely saw stories that relate to being alive in the 21st century being told by people like me.

Quarter Life Crisis runs at Ovalhouse from Thursday 13 April to Saturday 15 April 2017 only. Follow @MyTheatreMates on Twitter for details on our competition to win a pair of tickets to the show.

 

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Guest Bloggers on Twitter
Guest Bloggers
MyTheatreMates welcomes submissions from guest bloggers and other occasional contributors, including theatremakers commenting on aspects of their shows. Please email your suggestions to Mates co-founder Terri Paddock or submit them via our Contact Us page.