Breaking Up With Reality

’A beautifully narrated meditation of lockdown thoughts’: BREAKING UP WITH REALITY – Living Record Festival (Online review)

In Audio, Native, Online shows, Plays, Reviews by Violet Mackintosh

We needn’t search further than Nod At The Fox’s production of Breaking Up With Reality. Not only does this audio drama give us a sense of what it would sound like, but also the soothing soundscapes and intense narration allow us to know what it would feel like, look like and be like. This is a short and sweet escape from the doom and gloom of the world in its current state: a beautifully narrated meditation of lockdown thoughts.

Breaking Up With Reality is a train of thought, a stream of consciousness, and a conversation with the self, all sewn together by the clever concept of the narrator breaking up with reality as if ‘Reality’ were a partner, lover or friend. ‘Reality’ leaves, needs some space, doesn’t reply to text messages, and abandons the narrator to cope with a gaping hole of loneliness.

We listen on as the narrator guides us through their coping mechanisms: making tea, folding paper, and finding solace in a “find a temporary reality rabbit” on a bookshelf. It is a charming story in itself, but at its core it highlights the huge impact of social isolation.

“It is a charming story in itself, but at its core it highlights the huge impact of social isolation.”

The new pandemic-themed linguistic terms we are all so accustomed to, such as new normal, unprecedented and isolation, are routinely overused in pieces discussing the effect of lockdown. However, Eden Harbud manages to blend these concepts into the narrative in a new, creative manner. Breaking Up With Reality hits a truth I didn’t know existed: we all parted with our versions of reality in March 2020 and have had questionable relationships with them since.

At one point, the narrator meets back up with ‘Reality’ and greets them with an elbow bump, which, Harbud points out, is an unsatisfactory substitute for a hug. In fact, it is the part of the body that “famously has no feeling” (Breaking Up With Reality) and yet it is all that ‘Reality’ has left us.

With so much digital art out there in the void of the internet right now, it is challenging to circle one piece out, but this production is worth it to feel less alone with our pandemic-induced insanity. The simplicity of approach and natural manner in which the music and words blend together is a testament to Harbud. If you have a spare half-hour, allow yourself the time with this safe and secluded audio experience to confront the alarming times in which we live.

Available until 22 February 2021 at the Living Record Festival.

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Violet Mackintosh
Violet Mackintosh has experience as an assistant stage manager for the National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT) and as a production assistant at the Edinburgh Fringe. She pursues her interest in theatre through her blog: www.thevioletcurtain.com, also following global theatre, particularly in Germany. Violet lives in London and is a student at the University of Toronto.

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Violet Mackintosh on FacebookViolet Mackintosh on InstagramViolet Mackintosh on Twitter
Violet Mackintosh
Violet Mackintosh has experience as an assistant stage manager for the National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT) and as a production assistant at the Edinburgh Fringe. She pursues her interest in theatre through her blog: www.thevioletcurtain.com, also following global theatre, particularly in Germany. Violet lives in London and is a student at the University of Toronto.