AWARD-winning writer and performer Caroline Horton has plundered her own painful experience of anorexia for her latest play Mess.
Horton stars as Josephine, who suffers with a serious eating disorder in the poignant play about obsession, despair and finally letting go.
But the playwright, whose other play, You’re Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy, has just been nominated for an Olivier Award, said she had wanted to share the experience of an anorexia sufferer in an uplifting and hopeful way.
“Inevitably, for both me and one of the other performers, occasionally it did feel quite raw and emotional to make but overall, it felt like a highly satisfying process,” she tells the Solihull News.
“It doesn’t neglect the seriousness, the potential of the illness to destroy lives, but for me what was really important was to make it a story that was accessible to people.
“I think anorexia particularly, even just the way that people can look when they are suffering, drives people away.
“I was trying to make the debate more robust. It doesn’t really matter what you say, it’s better that we all get better at talking about it.
“We have had people come and see the show who are still dealing with anorexia.
“Some have found it a really positive experience, some feel they haven’t got enough distance from their own experience.
“It’s also been really interesting for people who are close to, or people who know someone with an eating disorder.
“The relationship between the character with anorexia and her friend Boris, who kind of stands for anyone who is in that awful position.
“They only want to help and they can’t ever seem to do the right thing.”
Birmingham-based Horton is already starting on her next play, Islands, about tax havens.
“I’ve just got really fascinated by that idea of people setting up a little haven where the rules of society don’t apply.
“I’m sort of educating myself.
“There is so much in the media about the economic crisis and tax at the moment. I feel I had a responsibility to understand it.”
Mess, supported by eating disorder charity Beat amd King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, comes to Warwick Arts Centre from May 7-9.