Dee, Myself and I is about a young woman called Thea, and her alter ego. “Today is going to be a good day,” she tells herself – but is it a good day? What does Thea do on a bad day? What do you do? Skyers Productions' play is the best exploration of depression I have yet seen, book-ended by lyrical narration and staged as a battle between good and evil.
Set in a flat in London, Thea doesn’t know how to fight her inner demons; she doesn’t know what they are, and she doesn’t know that she’s a sensitive, beautiful woman who happens to be black. Thea, acted by Princess McDonnough, may not know that she’s among a third of adults who struggle with depression. But she does know what it feels like to be alone inside her head, unable to banish the negative self-talk.
Thea’s depression threatens to encircle her until she is almost out of reach, but a good friend is on standby. The play reminded me that old friends are like gold dust – friends who are not just drinking partners but confidants. Friends who hold you, laugh and cry with you; friends who voyage into the ocean in the storm, as well as enjoying the sunshine.
A deserving winner of 'Best of the Fest' at the International Youth Arts Festival in 2017, the script is co-written by Rosie Murchison and Stephanie Fynn – a very promising young playwright from Epsom, who also directs this production. It’s 18-rated because it deals with the sharp end of depression, but it's ultimately uplifting. It reflects the reality that for many, depression does pass, even if (like any other health problem) it can recur. We see friends, family and the health service guide Thea through the tunnel, helping her to emerge from the night and brave the dawn.
After talking to the writer and actors afterwards, I know they understand what ‘lived experience’ means, and how painful it can be. So I recommend this play because it does not shy away from serious adult themes, yet it pays tribute to the resilience of the human spirit. As the Catholic saint Irenaeus famously said: “The glory of God is man [and woman] fully alive.” So let’s celebrate life, because laughter is precious, time is short – and most of us agree we only live once.