Written during the countries lockdown I Couldn’t Do Your Job explores through a series of frank and relaxed interviews conducted by Alan Emrys in the crew’s staff room. He is collecting research to write a play to honour his father who was a lifelong paramedic. He wants to gain an inside understanding of the work and situations faced by the team of five paramedics, in the hope of understanding his father better too. Although their experiences are generally shared each of them explains how the job affects them personally.
Jake Turner in the role of Aidan uses “ambulance humour” throughout his description of his life as a paramedic. In his story about the deceased patient’s pizza, I found myself agreeing with his actions. One of his call-outs was to a deceased gentleman. While he was there the pizza that the patient had ordered and paid for arrived, while waiting about 45 minutes for the police to arrive he ate it. In all fairness, it would have been a waste of food otherwise. Aidan’s a very likeable character who I would happily trust if I needed assistance.
Ambulance services to the vast majority of the population are there on the end of the phone when we require medical emergency assistance. However, the five paramedics openly discuss the range of mental health situations they attend where there’s nothing they can do to help, lonely older people who want to chat and the dangerous situations they are left with when the police are too busy.
Blakemore and Fayers have bought to stage a balanced and fair insight into the working life facing paramedic teams across the country. Highlighting the lack of support offered to those traumatised by some of the horrific situations they face every day of their working life. PTSD can go untreated and the “shelf life” of many paramedics is usually quite short due to stress.
It still feels like a work in progress during certain scenes. Although the cast is strong and likeable and the storyline reflects the in-depth research that has taken place by the writers. Highlighting the lack of support for this profession is important and needs to be addressed by the government. This play comes with a list of trigger warnings, which isn’t surprising as they attend to people generally during the worse moments of the patient’s lives.
For more information on the theatre company and the Pleasance Theatre please use the links below.