Review: 7 Day Notice

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By Tabitha Lean

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mindshare is a creative community and online mental health publication. Reflections are by mindshare writers with lived experience of mental illness, specifically critiquing through a mental health lens. Content may contain triggering themes. 

Do you know where you are sleeping tonight? 

Going into 7 Day Notice, I thought I knew a bit about homelessness. After all, I had slept in my car for a hot minute many years ago. I’ve had trouble finding a rental. I’ve been on the public housing wait list for an eternity; and I’ve had Aunties and Uncles camping in the parklands. But very quickly, I realised that my foray into sleeping rough was not at all the complete picture. 7 Day notice is an immersive event. It’s not just a show, it’s an experience – and be warned, it’s real, and we know how rare real is these days.

As I walk into the Fly Bird Fly Studios I am greeted by the artist. He tells me to grab an item off the table and a character card. My eyes immediately spy a little wooden giraffe, no bigger than my pinkie finger, so I grab that. I move to the character table and laid upon the trestle are cards with different people’s stories. I immediately vibe with a character called Robert. His mother also died violently, and he’d been to prison…I feel your pain, Robert, I know your struggle.

The studio is a tidy mess of chairs, and I immediately feel dislodged. What is it about orderly disorder that is so jarring?

Now, I won’t give away the nuance that Nathan March presents for the audience, but it’s an experience, alright. It’s a big fat truth bomb, in a little studio shed, and I am totally here for it.

The first film presented explores keys: seemingly simple and inane items, but the audience quickly learns the significance and gravity of key ownership. I, myself, have thoughts about keys. After being in prison, the jingle jangle of keys strikes panic in my heart, and I’ve never held a key in the palm of my hand the same way as before my incarceration.

I am moved by the second film and all the bits in between.  I am moved because Nathan emblazons stories from the very margins of society and gives them light. Nathan takes people who have been erased and discarded and elevates their stories to disrupt hegemonies and challenge the ubiquitous belief that there are throw away people: and we absolutely must challenge that notion because, as a society, we have become way too comfortable with it.

However, and I am sure Nathan would be okay with me saying this, it is not the artist that is the star of this show. It’s Anthony, Duane, Molly and every person who shared their stories, their thoughts, their views and their lives with us. The intimacy of the interviews is illuminating and thought provoking and more so, jarring. Jarring because I know where I will sleep tonight. I am confronted with all my privilege and encouraged to sit in it, to feel uncomfortable and to be motivated to just feel something. Feel something for the people and their circumstances and confront why it is that some of us walk past a sleeping person in a doorway on a busy city street, and barely raise a whisper, let alone a roar. Motivated to make visible the invisible, to see the unseen. To do something…anything.

But before I end this review, I have to say that I have not been able to stop thinking about a line one of the incredible participants in the film left us with: “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is connection.” And oh god, connection. I am left thinking that if we all just loved each other a little more how different the world could be, and I am so grateful for having walked into that studio last night, and grateful to the brilliant souls who shared their story. So, my recommendation is to see this show, but see it only if you want to feel something, because your heart is going to bleed, that’s a guarantee.

Four stars.

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