This is a play that focuses on the way we talk about mental health and intellectual disability, reflecting on the importance of language in discussing these issues.
There is not enough conversation on these subjects, and they’re not truly accepted as things we have to deal with as a society. Instead, they are generally kept separate from people who are fortunate enough not to face these problems in their daily lives.
This leads to a lack of tolerance and understanding for the difficulties with which people struggle. Advocacy attempts to address this social problem in an admirably measured and thoughtful manner.
The play also emphasises the difficulties faced by people who work with those who struggle with mental health issues and intellectual disabilities the insufficient level of support they are given. It illustrates the rights-focused approach and the efforts made to help people form authentic relationships and become part of a larger community, rather than allowing them to remain isolated.
Sense of empathy
There is also a focus on the mental and emotional strain placed on people doing this extremely necessary and difficult work.
A genuine effort is made to avoid putting words in peoples’ mouths, but Advocacy still creates a sense of empathy for their struggles. The excellent acting helps hugely in creating believable and relatable figures. Advocacy sets a fine example in refusing to ignore social issues which are too often left in the margins.
Shaun Dunne and Talking Shop Ensemble’s play Advocacy is currently running at the Project Arts Centre as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival. It runs till Saturday.