I was fortunate enough to first see the first draft of this incredibly moving play at the Six plays in the one-day event led by Threedumb Theatre at the Tristan Bates Actors Centre on Saturday, February 9th 2020. One the plays that really stood out for me was Jack Hesketh’s preview production of “Am I Happy Yet?”. I was extremely moved by his powerful performance that I was incredibly keen to see and review his revised version.
The outlined story hasn’t changed a vast amount. The stages of additional props add to the atmosphere of his story visually. The born and bred Glaswegian man isn’t quite to ready to use the title “man” yet. A newspaper story about a 19-year-old man involved in an accident sends him spiralling into a crisis about his own title. In his early twenties now he does not recall walking into adulthood.
With a lot of anger and swearing, he fights to keep his “young lad” identity. Who actually gave him this role if man? Is he ready to be the grown-up that the title suggests? This brought me into questioning myself as to whether any of us really prepared to become a responsible adult.
The uplifting entrance to “Mr Blue Sky ” by ELO certainly lulls you into a false sense of security of the happy expectations you might be expecting to see. However, what it does deliver is an honest in-depth monologue recognising and dealing with the demons he is suffering from depression and anxiety.
The revised hour-long production debuted at The Lion and Unicorn in Kentish Town. The intimate setting of this Theatre brings a harder-hitting point across during the emotional outbursts, which the man experiences and allows Hesketh to be nearer to the audience. At times I felt he was talking directly to me instead of the audience.
Director Coral Tarran has bought out the best in Hesketh’s piece and as she says herself “we need pieces like “Am I Happy Yet?” to help kill the taboo of depression and anxiety”. Something I firmly believe this piece is managing to achieve.
The flair Hesketh has shown in this work both in writing and performance has the making of a very promising future for him. I am very much looking forward to seeing what he does next. Gems like this do not come along every day.
The play runs from Tuesday 3rd to Friday 6th 7.30-8.45pm please use the links below for further details.