Billed as a an “autobiographical look into the mind of someone living with OCD and depression”, Ant Lightfoot’s Am I A Terrible Person?, is a trance-like presentation of insecurity and purpose. At a bitesize runtime of 15 minutes, it is the perfect length to encourage discussion without labouring or demeaning the value.
If you type ‘insecurity’ into google one of the first images that the search engine provides is a picture of a hand marked with the words “Am I good enough?” in bold black ink. Depression is a scary trigger word for a lot of people; it’s too easy to deign it an ‘invisible illness’, belittling it as a virus for the snowflake generation. Realistically these are feelings that are universally felt, especially during the recent months of isolation. We have all experienced time slow almost to a halt and had questions of validity and self-consciousness darting around our heads. Lightfoot presents this to us in an intimate moment of vulnerable honesty, myth busting some of the false pretences and softening the intricacies for consumption.
There’s a psycho-realistic authenticity to Lightfoot’s ‘performance’ that resonates perfectly through film that perhaps wouldn’t have been as effective in a live atmosphere. His simple direct address is modest and unpretentious without becoming banal which is an impressive feat. “This is the place where I sit… I sit here and I feel time slow down. Every day is the same. Just trying to fill the time, wishing I could just exist better”.
Clint Dyer, the recently appointed deputy artistic director of the National Theatre, shared in an interview: “theatre should always entertain, and theatre should always challenge”; Lightfoot hits this description spot on with a sturdy palate, balancing the sometimes-bleak reality with natural charm and humour. It is testament to Lightfoot that he does not trivialise themes of depression – something that Hollywood are so prone to doing.
With a segment of subversive stand-up, reminiscent of a free venue at the Edinburgh Fringe, Lightfoot emanates a persona reminding me of Jimmy Carr, whether that’s the vocal quality; the repetitive inflexions delivered with dry wit and a cold tone, or the sombre repose, I’m not entirely sure. Nonetheless, this wit and humour creates a three-dimensional approach to sharing an important reflection that is more universal than you might think.
Am I A Terrible Person? is available to watch until the 22nd of February 2021, for more information and tickets go to: https://www.livingrecord.co.uk/the-living-record-festival