Exploring the impact of grief

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TO NDR Sometimes.jpg POIGNANT: Rebecca Peyton in Sometimes I Laugh Like My Sister. Photo: Supplied

ONE of the international performances to be staged at the Musho! Festival this year is Sometimes I Laugh Like My Sister – a personal take on death and grief.

BBC journalist Kate Peyton was shot dead by suspected Islamic radicals on assignment in Somalia in 2005.

This is her sister Rebecca’s one-woman show about the impact of this loss – “a poignant, wry look at grief, a tribute to Kate and an attempt to break the taboo around discussing death”.

Tonight had the opportunity to chat with Peyton further about the piece.

“Within days of Kate dying I knew I wanted to make something… My dad died when I was six years old in a road traffic accident, so that experience of my dad dying means I’ve always been a person who talks about death – but in British culture that is very odd,” she said.

“But I’ve always talked about death and so I wanted to make something of it… The terrible thing about losing somebody is that they are no longer there, and whether a colleague or a friend or family; you never know how it will affect you.”

Peyton said her objective was really just to produce a play that had an ordinary person telling their story of death and grief. “We kind of didn’t want to dwell on anger, because so much of grief is anger. We wanted to make something welcoming.

Yes, sad, but at the same time more welcoming. That for me is the most common experience. Death is so much a part of everyday life.”

She opted to stay away from politics and focus more on the emotional aspect. “Kate was murdered and she was abroad at the time and there were lots and lots of stories around what happened, but Kate felt that she had to go to Somalia for her job’s sake, because at the time she was supporting her Congolese boy-friend and his child who’d moved in with her, and this is also a very South African story.

“Where people are under pressure to keep their jobs and will do anything in order to do so.”

She said her family had been very supportive.

From its first staging in Swit-zerland the play has garnered a lot of laughter and appreciation from audiences, some of whom had been struggling with grief.

• Sometimes I Laugh Like My Sister stages on January 16 at 8pm.


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