That's Not My Name

That’s Not my Name falls into almost every category of art, or none of it: its own individual masterpiece of mess. It isn't any normal show, which is exactly the point: deconstructing what 'normal' is.

Pushes us into the deep end, head-first; no apologies, no embarrassment, simply raw truth

From the beginning, I felt as though I was taken into Sammy Trotman’s brain, and told to witness and interact with it. There's not a linear plot to the story, but a collection of topics and personal stories ranging from privilege, generational trauma, mental health’s effect on relationships,and a little hint of Sigmund Freud. It pushes us into the deep end, head-first; no apologies, no embarrassment, simply raw truth. Which, if I were to guess, is a freeing experience for Trotman to tell her story, her way.

Trotman wears her self-awareness on her sleeve, giving us a seemingly unbiased encapsulation of her personality flaws. You want to root for her, and yet at the same time, she reveals the bad things she’s done to the people in her life. It's a consistent push and pull of where empathy starts and ends, and how one can be challenged to forgive. Her behavior starkly switches with the click of a lighting change. She can be volatile, empathetically asking us for help, or offering someone crisps, within a few minutes. It's consistently exciting, yet slightly uncomfortable at times, with the unexpectedness of which Sammy I would be met with in the following lines. My emotional reactions proved this was effective, offering a look inside the emotional journey of living with several personality disorders, and forced me to watch the chaos unfold in an open and non judgmental way.

That’s Not My Name made me rethink commonly misconstrued terms like insane, mad, sociopath, and the misunderstanding of Dissociative Identity Disorder: a disorder that is so commonly misrepresented in the media with movies like Split (“No, I do not crawl on the ceiling….yet” - Sammy Trotman). At times she speaks directly towards the institutions of psychiatry, looking toward a mounted stage light that directly shone onto her; an incredibly powerful image of the individual reckoning with the 'big-man' figures head on. With all of the consistent chaos and hilarity, it makes the calm moments all the more powerful. That being said, I was glad to be on a rollercoaster ride of the unexpected. I never knew I wanted to go from beautiful prose to singing a pop-song wearing only a Sainsbury’s bag until this show.

As an audience, we were not let off easy. Trotman consistently questions and involves us in the story-telling. In a society where people are so easily uncomfortable with mental health disorders, this show forces us to reckon with the reality of our broken system and ourselves. That’s Not My Name is the type of the show that completely alters what theatre is expected to be. It’s the type of theatre that should be made in 2023, and should be seen.

Reviews by Miriam Colvin

The White Bear

Generation Games

★★★
Brighton Fringe / Hen and Chickens Theatre Pub / The Bread & Roses

That's Not My Name

★★★★★

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Performances

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The Blurb

A laugh-till-you-choke kind of funny, That's Not My Name is a 75 minutes of completely absurd logic which serves as a metaphor for the social understanding of madness. Written by Sammy Trotman, who, critics remain unsure about whether she is a character comedian or whether it is in fact dissociative identity disorder like her psychiatrist said (like the film Split, but she can't do the crawling on the ceiling thingy) either way they seem to like it. ★★★★★ “Sammy is both funny and sexy” – David,

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