Oh, My Heart My Home - Edinburgh Fringe 2023
We’re in the Women’s Locker Room at Summerhall. The room is tiny. A random assortment of chairs for the audience are assembled. We face towards a collection of instruments, technology, and what looks like a huge doll’s house. Once the house is revealed to us piece by piece it is packed with minute detail of rooms with lit by tiny lights. Sometimes the surface is used to carry projections of the universe or old family film. Each of these moments is filled full by heart stopping story and resonance. This is a play about memory.
A man – we later learn his name is Jack Brett – sits behind the instruments in a corner. He’s the onstage musician. He plays a guitar, keyboard and fires all kinds of sound, and sings. It’s all in step with the gentle story telling taking place and he shares the musical load with the primary storyteller. This is writer, designer and first-rate storyteller Casey Jay Andrews. She has ushered us in. She will tell us a story. The story is one of wonder and awe. It is nostalgic in the best sense of the word as the protagonist, Frankie, returns to her family home and her grandfather, his dog, and an unfolding set of secrets. Some of which are as mysterious as the origins of a falling star. This play is a fable.
There is quite a bit of astrophysics in the text. It turns out the speaker’s sister is in that field but that’s not really part of the story. We learn about the origins in meteor showers, what it’s worth if you can find a space rock that has fallen to earth intact and sell it to scientists. Scientists estimate that about 48.5 tons of meteoritic material falls on the Earth each day. Almost all the material is vaporised in Earth's atmosphere, leaving a bright trail fondly called "shooting stars." Several meteors per hour can usually be seen on any given night. The characters in this story each the sky at night.
We are completely transported by the poetic words and worlds that whirl around this tiny room to create a much larger canvas in our imaginations. This is a story about belonging. It’s also about being alone. But of course, our need to share stories is what brings us back to the theatre again and again. Casey Jay Andrews has a portfolio of incredible talents and achievements in the performing arts but the most precious is her remarkable ability to hold us in her sway using the most ancient of arts: that of the story.
I can’t recommend this show enough and I for one will try and return.