Blurring the division between reality and theatre, truth and fiction, How We Think We Think is a neatly delivered postmodern play. It investigates the complex ruminations of Tom, a young man who experiences a chance encounter on the tube, which results in his witnessing a suicide. The stranger imbeds himself in Tom’s psyche as a result, and the audience is swept into the unravelling thought processes which accompany this. He investigates the man, their single shared conversation, before extending into the future – what is Tom’s responsibility to this stranger? Or his family? To whom does he owe his version of the truth?
Written by Melanie Anne Ball and directed by Joe Ball, How We Think We Think levels with big questions surrounding truth, reality, psychology and the weirder aspects of human nature. It took a few moments to settle into the tone of the play, as Tom (Peter Dewhurst) too warmed into the role.
But as the border between stage and audience blurs, How We Think We Think comes into its own. The audience are inherently involved in the experience, making the performance unique and fresh, and certainly worth a repeat visit.
How We Think We Think offers an interesting perspective of the effects mental illness has on those who are themselves unaffected; it is a third party insight into the after effects of suicide, the questions inevitably asked of and by those left behind. How can we ever truly understand another person’s experience? On this front, the play is particularly successful; Tom is earnest and intelligent in his search for answers, a balance struck between complex philosophical queries and the pure ‘animal’, instinctive question marks which surrounding attempts to dissect other people. Despite minor pacing issues and a few moments which ‘broke’ the ambiguous setup (moments which brought back the fact that this is indeed theatre, rather than a retelling of true events) this is a play to consider and discuss long after it is over.
Perhaps How We Think We Think tries to explore too much – too many big questions to be successfully unravelled in a single sitting. But the ambition is to be applauded, and the delivery is distinctive and engaging. It will prompt in you a host of thought-provoking ideas – and what more can we expect of good art? If nothing else, theatre such as this reminds us all that art provides one of the few vehicles through which to understand our fellow man – it calls attention to a shared experience and penetrates the indifference we sometimes attribute to the human ‘extras’ orbiting our lives.
Review by Christina Calgaro
How We Think We Think is a performance which strikes up conversation with its audience about how we process decision making. When Tom witnesses the suicide of a stranger he has had a chance encounter with on the London Underground, he makes it his mission to understand why the events unfolded as they did. He tears apart his own world view while trying to piece together the life and mind of a man he will never know. Using audience involvement to seek answers, Heart to Heart Theatre invite you to join us for an exploration of who, why and what we are. How do you think we think?
Performed by Peter Dewhurst
Directed by Joe Ball
Written by Melanie Anne Ball