Still Ill is a ground-breaking play, a story about psychosomatic illness and Functional Neurological Disorder, told with the help of real sufferers and experts.  Supported by the legendary ‘Complicite’, for whom Kandinsky founder James Yeatman works as an Associate Director.  James spoke to our Stage Door Johnny about directing Still Ill

Kandinsky, renowned for staging real, often dark subject matter with their innovative, distinctive use of movement and visuals, will tackle the contentious topic of psychosomatic illness and Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) in brand new production Still Ill.

STILL ILLStory…

Like many young actors, Sophie earns extra money by playing a ‘patient’ for medical students to practise on. But as her career begins to take off and she gets the job of a lifetime in a TV medical drama, her body begins to betray her. This time, the symptoms are all too real.

Inspired by extensive research with FND sufferers and medical professionals, Still Ill employs testimony from experts on this surprisingly common, little-understood condition, to create a vivid, visceral and darkly comic exploration of how and why people suffer debilitating symptoms with no known medical cause.

Functional Neurological Disorder is a condition in which patients experience neurological symptoms such as weakness, movement disorders, sensory symptoms and blackouts, but with no discernible organic cause in their brain or nervous system. It is a controversial topic in the medical world due to the lack of certainty and competing theories surrounding its causes and best courses of treatment.

In order to create Still Ill, Kandinsky have employed the help of those living with the condition, support group FND Hope and medical experts such as Dr Timothy Nicholson from King’s Institute of Psychiatry.

Kandinsky was founded in 2005 by James Yeatman and Al Smith, with previous works including the Sunday Times Playwriting Award-winning exploration of our hubristic suburban ignorance of nuclear war, Enola; ambitious, Carol Tambor Award-nominated double-bill The Bird and The Bee; and the raucous murder-mystery-comedy-thriller Dog Show, which followed victims of a serial dog killer. Dog Show ran at New Diorama Theatre last autumn, winning the Peter Brook Festival Award and the OffWestEnd Award for Best Ensemble.

1-19 November, New Diorama Theatre, NW1.

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John Bowles
John Bowles, having started his career on Australian variety television at the age of ten, had notched up 300 hours of live national TV by the age of sixteen. As an adult he has gone on to star in many theatrical productions such as ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and ‘Cats’. He has produced, directed and written for television but admits his favourite role is as presenter, and he relishes the opportunity to talk to interesting show business people and tell their stories.