Amy Trigg makes you laugh and breaks your heart in ‘Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me’
Comparison is the death of joy, or so they say, and in our social media-obsessed, self congratulatory-culture, comparison has become a bit of a pandemic in its own right. Even as we were all shuttered in our houses for the past year, peering through screens at friends’ pool-side quarantines or country homes felt a little bit like it’s own disease, while trying to maintain gratitude for health and safety.
In a particularly moving scene in Amy Trigg’s poignant Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me, the performer/writer reflects on her gorgeous and accomplished friend’s struggle with her appearance and as a result, her happiness and well-being. Trigg, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, plays a Juno, a character who also has the condition, and poignantly asks: “If a woman like her can be so unhappy with her body...then how am I meant to feel? Because on paper, I’m deformed.”
Even with heartfelt emotional revelations, Trigg finds the humor, and the play, which won the Women’s Prize for Playwriting in 2020, is quite comical, as Juno navigates sex, drinking, and coming of age in a body that often provokes questions, some that Juno herself can’t fully answer. “People would ask me if I could have sex, and I’d feign shock and act wildly offended whilst secretly wanting to grab them by the shoulders and be like, ‘I don’t know Janet!’”
Trigg brings an endlessly funny and upbeat spirit to Juno’s journey, which is matched by her hot pink blazer and unwavering smile. She writes in a poetic style, as if delivering musical stanzas about everything from losing bladder control in front of your crush to navigating Christian healers. No topic is off-limits.
The musical feeling is supported by Elena Peña’s atmospheric sound design, and Guy Hoare’s lighting design is able to seamlessly move the story between locations, all whilst Juno remains in designer Jean Chan’s pop-tastic Capri sun box set, a nod to a childhood story in the play. Director Charlotte Bennett keeps the evening well-paced, in a conceptual production that feels simultaneously modern and nostalgic.
“Life can be shit and wonderful at the same time,” Juno tells us, and she’s right. We shouldn’t measure our lives in terms of “have” and “have-nots” but rather by our own personal happiness. Trigg’s play isn’t shit and wonderful though; it’s just wonderful.