Far From Fiction at The Tavistock and Portman

Far From Fiction is a play about self-harm. Two people meet in a place of confinement. It feels like a prison but is, in fact, a rehabilitation centre for people suffering from mental illness. One character is a 70-year old academic white lady who has recently suffered a serious depression. The other is a 20-year old highly intelligent black woman who has been in hospital for self-harm and an eating disorder. The two women become friends despite cultural differences and the 50-year age-gap.  Their relationship develops and takes twists and turns as the story unfolds. We witness their daemons and their vacillating facility for relating to each other in a confined setting. Can they get well? Is there really any hope? What do they have to offer each other?  Their developing relationship is the focus of the play. Although the play addresses a very serious truth about human nature, there are moments of comedy and light heartedness.

As well as looking at the experience of the two people, the play also asks about the impact of societal responses to those who self-harm and poses the question: why is self-harm increasing in young people today? What can we do, as professionals, to help.

Re-entry; a scene from Far From Fiction by Sally Willis

Re-entry; a scene from Far From Fiction by Sally Willis at The Tavistock & Portman, 27 November 2015
I am sick every day, sometimes five times. Every muscle refuses. I am possessed by torpor
No-one travels with you when you travel to hell
A massive yawn-shaped NO strangles in the throat and heaves and stretches inside the mouth
The silent scream of obesity
It is not so difficult to go on a diet. You just have to give up bread and potatoes

What people say

  • “Lucid, lively, intellectual, wonderful … I am hearing Tom Stoppard”

    Michael Prescott

  • “A true work of art. Sally Willis held us all in the room like one”

              Levana Marshall

  • “Brilliant…last scene could stand as a play on its own… In human and emotional terms, you cannot fault it” 

     Gerhard Wilke, Fellow of the Royal College of GPs

  • “a play about the disclosure of not talked about pain… the last scene is a ferocious foaming monologue of eloquent rage”

             Andrew Syrett, Professor of Criminology, Leicester

  • “From being in the imagination of an ageing actress to becoming a real conversationalist… from a seriously ill society to one that wails, heals and does better for future generations.”

                 Sabine McNeill,  Berlin