Jack Cray is The Fittest Man On The Street. Is this a show about a man who’s been to the gym every day for months? No. Think more laterally and you’ll be closer to the answer, finding Jack’s personable and relatable account of a life-altering diagnosis.
Jack Cray brings his gentle humour and intelligence on a dramatic and often misunderstood subject
Jack Cray was one of the 30,000 people diagnosed with epilepsy each year, and this is his story. More like a TED talk than a theatre show (and none the worse for that) this is a lived-experience tour of epilepsy from someone who knows.
Many of us know people with epilepsy and have witnessed seizures, but few will have heard a seizure described in such intimate detail by someone who has experienced one. In just 45 minutes, Jack takes us into a world of crazy mental spaghetti, biology, neurology, ambulances and medication.
The world that Jack entered upon his diagnosis was one of anxiety and reorientation, turning a world of safety to a world of potential danger from all directions. It turned from a world in which he was able to drive to his destination, to one in which he has a disabled person’s bus pass… which was then eyed with suspicion by fellow passengers considering whether or not they should give up their seats to this ‘fit’ and healthy-looking teenager.
With everything changed, Jack’s life became more complicated. The wedding of a relative went from being a celebration to a logistical nightmare. Where is the nearest safe space in case of a seizure? It needs to be close as there’s only a few seconds between the premonition to the full-blown seizure. When dealing with this reality, how could any future event be full of anything but apprehension?
Despite the changes, life goes on, and Jack has found a place in which he understands epilepsy better. He’s discovered a strange, almost respectful relationship with it, in which acceptance becomes key. And in this, he has perhaps come upon a metaphor for wise living: to accept what cannot be changed, and to get on with life.
In this informal and enjoyably informative conversation with the audience, Jack also converses with projected screen versions of himself and his neurologist (a neat piece of theatre) and brings his gentle humour and intelligence to bear on a dramatic and often misunderstood subject. I encourage you to ‘seize’ the opportunity to join him for a journey into this thoughtful description of a very personal world.