By Mario Christofides
So first show today of Butterflies and it's an exciting time. Reflecting back over the devising process and R&D, it's been so interesting to learn about anxiety in children (and in general), and about how anxiety lives in all of us. Though our coping mechanisms all differ, I think the main realisation about it for me is the notions of what 'control' is to us all, about the feelings you get when you are not in 'control' and how your experience becomes something you focus on as a safety tool.
We explored in devising about feelings like 'missing-a-step', 'falling' and 'floating'; in each one of these feelings the surety of the physical world is missing (i.e. the actual sensation of your hands grabbing something or your foot landing on the ground).
I confess I have times when my anxiety gets the better of me, but whenever I've felt like that one of my coping mechanisms is that I know it's only temporary, the 'grounding element' is that the feeling has happened before and I'm still here - I've experienced it already - what's the worst that can happen, right?
But what if you are not built that way? What if you feel like you will never get that grounding? You can't control yourself - your descent or ascent, how then can you be sure that you are not going to feel that way forever.
Very scary, and the really sad thing is that some people no matter how hard they try cannot find that surety of 'I'll get past this'.
It's really tough place. A place that needs greater awareness I think and makes me glad that we've created a children's show about it.