“They’re not aliens, they just have other priorities to us.”
The topic of autism seems to intimidate a lot of people, simply due to a lack of individual understanding not only of what these symptoms are or can be, but also engaging with the fact that there is a spectrum of the disability. Many people view autistic people as to having slight learning difficulties, with possible heightened abilities in other areas. Whilst this is true in some cases, it’s not always as simple as that, and Eat.Sleep.Bathe.Repeat allows us to view life in a care home for low functioning autistic residents, as well as the carers who devote their lives to looking after them.
I think what makes this piece so interesting is its simplicity and rawness. There are no moments of extremely heightened emotion: no “who dunnit?”‘s and no “Did he? Didn’t she?”, simply because the piece doesn’t need it. Josh Day has written the piece with such modesty and honesty. Day cleverly uses the new and naïve care worker who has no previous experience working with low functioning autistic people as a tool to help the audience learn with him. There are moments of perfect light and shade throughout the piece which compliment each other brilliantly. Through these peaks and troughs we discover the truth behind how the carers feel and handle things, as well as their connections with trying to understand the residents. An interesting example includes Aaron (played by Andy Morgan), a sarcastic, lazy and narcissistic carer who is easy to dislike, however his real, if immature, humour colours the piece fantastically, and also shows that carers are after all, only human too.
It is clear that a lot of research has gone into creating these characters. All of the actors playing autistic characters have every movement and sound absolutely spot on, with no shying away from the truth. Eat.Sleep.Bathe.Repeat is a brilliant depiction of people with autism and the internal struggle of communication and clear cognitive thinking. This makes the piece even more heart warming when we see that James (Luke Merchant) manages to build individual relationships with the residents depending on their different needs.
Eat.Sleep.Bathe.Repeat. opens the mind to an entirely different perspective of the truth of autism, and reminds us that these people are in fact just people with alternative understandings of the world. The piece is written and delivered with such a great understanding and level of respect, and it’s a fantastic example of new writing. A great watch for anyone who is looking to learn a bit and walk away with a new understanding and predominantly, a smile.
Eat. Sleep. Bathe. Repeat. is playing theSpace on the Mile until August 13. For more information and tickets, see the Edinburgh Fringe website.