Scott Wings’ intimate performance poetry piece Icarus Falling erupts into a blistering glimpse into the darkness of one man’s battle with depression. As Daedalus crafts his infamous wings, Scott Wings cobbles together a creation of his own, Icarus Falling, a version of the Icarus myth made from feathery scraps from a Wikipedia page and the hot sticky wax of his experience of mental illness. Icarus’ imprisonment in King Minos’ tower becomes a neat metaphor for Wings’ confinement in his own mind where he climbs the walls in frustration and reaches out to the distant world below, trying to make us understand.
“I set my wings on fire for you tonight”, Wings tells us and there is something incredibly selfless in the way his performance bares his soul so completely with lyrical poetry and devastating transient moments. I am carried away by the hypnotic rhythms of the words that Scott Wings spits out in his angry and eloquent quasi-rap about the clichéd ache of lost love, bad fathers and the poetry that runs circles in his head. All of a sudden there’s a pain in my throat that takes me totally by surprise: I’m choking on the tears that I don’t seem able to cry because I can’t possibly feel the pain that he describes. This is the knock-out punch of Icarus Falling, the incredible emotional impact that creeps up while we try to work out quite what the mind-blowing performance we’re watching is. It completely floors the entire audience. Scott Wings would probably call such a reaction cliché.
Wings is a fervent performer who pours everything he’s pent up for years into this show. His style is diverse and flirts with influences from hip-hop to sonnets to create a voice unlike any other. Backed into the corner of a small room he performs surrounded by scattered feathers, contorting his body with a tortured physicality that transforms his words into a piece of raw and unmoulded beauty. Icarus Falling is intense and passionate and defiantly refuses to be a tangible thing. It’s the most touching exploration of depression I’ve ever seen and it left me broken, sobbing big ugly tears all the way home.
Icarus Falling played at C nova (Venue 145) as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. For more information see the Edinburgh Fringe website.