The ephemeral beauty of a flower in bloom carries the unspoken narrative of decay and death. It is fitting then, that at the outset of Age is a Feeling, writer and performer Hayley McGee perches atop a ladder on a stage surrounded by twelve tall-stemmed plants and flowers. Each of these bears a postcard on which a different word is written. So some of the main themes, and the mechanism of storytelling, are introduced in this delicate, sad and often beautiful piece of theatre.
By turns wistful, knowing, warm, and funny, with an ultimately sombre feel
The journey from turning 25, until old-age and death is the substance of the work, and it is shaped by the words attached to the plants. At points throughout the performance audience members are invited to chose from the available words; six are chosen in total, each representing a story which will combine to shape the overall narrative of the show. It is a device which allows McGee to introduce some of the uncertainty of like into her theatrical representation of the same.
The story that is presented by this method turns out to be by turns wistful, knowing, warm, and funny, with an ultimately sombre feel. It is always expertly told by McGee who with her casual attire and bare feet offers an unaffected, lively and engaging performance. We follow a life which is sometimes pass vaguely sketched out and most often defined by relationships with others as youth turns to age and wisdom comes too late.
A quarter century feels a little young to begin ruminating on your eventual demise, but McGee’s monologue is told with a sensitivity which belies both the initial age of the narrator, and the still relatively young age of the writer and performer. However, through it’s nicely layered stories and am excellent central performance, Age is a Feeling presents some very thought-provoking, and often deeply moving, insights into what it means to live a life.