A play about hoarding, Birdcage Thursdays provides a powerful and empathetic insight into a real life hoarding situation that the playwright, Sandra Long experienced as a child with her mother who suffers from hoarding disorder.
Hoarding is a disorder that has ripple effects to so many people around them. You feel the mother’s intense turmoil of allowing someone else in the space and the judgemental attitude of others about what stuff is and isn’t important to them. You experience the daughter’s frustration with the expectation from outsiders that she should be the one to get in and clean up the mess, even though she has tried to do so many times before without success. You also get a sense of the consistent, gentle persistence from the outside organisations that want to be involved, that have the skills to be of assistance. However, they are constantly thwarted by any attempts to communicate directly with the mother, with phone calls and messages going unanswered.
The piles of boxes are perfect for the staging and highlight the closeted nature of hoarding and the sense of security that their possessions often provide them, protecting them from the outside world. In an effort to clear a space Churning, the constant moving of items from one spot to another, is effectively demonstrated as the piles continue to shift and change with little progress being made.
Why the name?
Amongst the chaos there remains the ability to be somewhat organised to clean out the birdcage each week, and yes you guessed it that’s on a Thursday. I highly recommend this play about hoarding to someone that has experienced hoarding directly by a loved one or anyone that works with clients in this highly specialised field.
Thank you to Sue Ryan of Organised By Sue for this insightful review.