(Noun) - A Complete Thing
‘My sister smells of woodsmoke, warm earth, oranges and dust.’
A quest to fill the space inside.
Whole is a solo show about two people, one of them is on stage the other isn't. In some parts of the world people believe that twins share a soul, so how can you be a twin alone? It is a brutal wander through the shadows of a bluebell wood at dusk, a map of a life written across two bodies. A dive into the depths of what happens when you lose part of yourself. It is a raw, tender, messy love story, a wound splashed in whisky & haunted by ghosts.
Naomi Dawson -Set & Costume Design (Young Vic, Knee-High, Royal Court) www.naomidawson.com
Dominic Kennedy - Sound Designer (Paines Plough, Punchdrunk, Theatre Clywd) www.sounddesigndom.com
Kristina Hjelm - Lighting Designer (RSC, Gecko, Fuel) kristina-hjelm
Lou Platt - Artist Wellbeing Practitioner www.artistwellbeing.co.uk
Whole explores identity, belief, and what it means to be a twin who has lost her twin. It is a ghost story without a ghost.
My identical twin sister died 5 years ago and my priorities as an artist have changed. I decided to start developing my own work, because the stories I needed to see, the stories that could help me understand my experiences, were not being told. I wanted to make a show that opens up the conversations we have surrounding death & grief. To ask an audience to think about what it means to be alive and what we leave behind us.
The piece uses a mixture of story telling, song, soundscape, weaving audio & bold visual imagery to take a raw and honest look at complicated relationships & how we live with loss. I have been working with an Artist well-being practitioner, Lou Platt, to support the creative process and the emotional well-being of all the creatives involved.
Past performances 2021:
(Work-in-progress outdoor version)
The Warren -Around a fire in a wood in Frome - September 17th 2021
St Days Old Church (roofless church), Redruth, Cornwall - October 16th 2021
Arcola Outside - 'Today I Am Wiser Festival'
Sunday November 14th 2021 -8pm,
Monday November 15th 2021 -7pm
Cambridge Junction Preview - November 17th 2021
"Whole is a heartbreakingly raw and immensely beautiful experience" Ema Boswood, Arts Producer Cambridge Junction
"Whole is a profoundly moving exploration about what it takes to go it alone in the wake of tremendous loss and grief. Emma's writing sparkles effortlessly before cracking our hearts."
Haley McGee -Theatre maker + Founder of Solo Show Creator Labs.
Whole is supported by Arts Council England, Cambridge Junction and Metal
Reviews for WHOLE 2021
'Spearing’s frank and starkly emotional Whole, is a whirlwind both in terms of its form and its affect. Blending dance, poetry and spoken word, Spearing flickers between extreme emotions, sometimes existing within multiple emotions at once. Simultaneously heartbreakingly tender and searingly angry, Spearing represents the insurmountable tumult of grief with devastating accuracy.
Spearing speaks with conflicting emotions about the spiritual, mystical aspects of her life... Holding these contradictory feelings at the same time, and expressing that contradiction truthfully and without minimising either side is a truly incredible feat, one which Spearing pulls off with great success. This conflicted spirituality permeates the piece, granting it an almost transcendental quality.' - Theatre review Blog Full review here: emma-spearings-whole-
'An Awe inspiring and haunting performance' - Audience Member
'A phenomenal piece of theatre. Last night's performance by Emma Spearing of her own one-woman play "Whole: Work in Progress" at Arcola Outside was an incredibly courageous and deep exploration of what it means to be left behind when someone you love intensely dies. The work expertly and emotionally confounds so many myths about grief whilst adding new insights of its own. It was like being given access to selected events from Emma's own diary; full of the joys, regrets, rage, tears and laughter of years of knowing someone so well and yet not knowing them half as well as you would like. I can't imagine seeing a better written or better performed story this year and it reduced my other half to a sobbing, if very grateful, wreck. Full marks to the staging and sound design too ... even if some of the intricacies of the audio got lost in the seemingly never-ending police sirens of Dalston Junction. A life experience I am very, very honoured to have had.' Audience Member at Arcola
'So very powerful, raw, direct. Not like anything I have seen on stage before.' Audience member