‘I’ve been dead for three days. A Woman. A suicide. A choice. A life. A lie. A truth. An ending. Of sorts.’ The brief summary of the 70 minute one-woman play DUST, written and performed by Milly Thomas.
After its award-winning, sell-out run at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe DUST transferred to London’s Soho Theatre for four weeks in February last year. It was one of two plays Milly had running at the Festival, the other was BRUTAL CESSATION. DUST is the story of Alice, a twenty-something, high functioning depressive with a double-edged gift for masking how unwell she is. Alice takes her own life and is forced to watch the aftermath of her suicide and its ripple effect on family and friends, realising death isn’t the change she hoped for. The play serves to open up the conversation about the reality of living… and dying with depression.
“I wanted my play DUST to be a battle cry for life,” said Milly, who wrote it six years ago in response to her own mental health issues. “I was frightened to write it, I knew I would have to perform it”. It was a performance, which won her the Stage Edinburgh Award and described by Evening Standard critic Henry Hutchings as “courageous in portraying vulnerability. Alice is wildly profane who has a flippancy, born of being powerless, in life and death.”
I left this montage sketch at the Soho, which Milly signed and returned for me.