We are introduced to Rosa as she jogs on the spot, planning her new years resolutions which include working hard, calling her grandma more and taking better care of her body. As she dissects the world of online dating, instagram worthy fashion and yoga for beginners, we can all relate to aspects of her everyday anxieties. And then, at the tender age of 23 years of age, Rosa is diagnosed with germ cell cancer of the omentum, stomach lining and lymph nodes and undergoes an intense menu of treatments.
An hour of gutsy enlightenment that shines a spotlight on what’s really important in life
This one person piece, written and performed by Rosa Hesmondhalgh, is at times breathtakingly sad, and at others intensely funny – though consistently it holds us in a place of safety. The erudite, reflective Rosa that stands before us makes it so. Utilising a plethora of tools such as poetry slam, rhyming couplets, vocal backdrops, videos, film clips, photographs and WhatsApp chat visuals, there’s a rich variety and an injection of humour that lightens the mood in appropriate places. Rosa captures moments in a blend of poetry and emotion so real that we feel transported in time. Changes of tempo, exhibited through her words and movements of body, transform us into that hospital theatre as the over-stimulus of the noise and beeping causes her to unravel in a panic of uncertainty.
Rosa boldly discusses elements of surviving cancer which are rarely mentioned – the PTSD, the survivors guilt, the constant worry that the indiscriminate disease will return with a vengeance. Cancer is a disease which touches everyone, and Rosa’s parting message is one which hits us all right in the feels and there’s barely a dry eye in the house by the end of this lightening fast hour. For while we’ve been hearing Rosa’s story, it’s not her story she’s there to tell. It’s ultimately the story of everyone who ever touched her, supported her, loved her and nurtured her through – even for the most fleeting of moments.
This is an hour which will make you think, make you laugh, make you sad and possibly make you cry. But it’s also an hour of gutsy enlightenment that shines a spotlight on what’s really important in life – the quality of the relationships we make. This piece has bags of potential, and with further performances will continue to elevate in quality.