We are thrilled to see the fantastic reviews heaped upon the brand new Edinburgh Fringe show, focused on alcohol dependency, Meeting at 33.
Nacoa were kindly invited to previews of the show early this summer, and Meeting at 33 was unlike any play our volunteers had ever seen. It is an immersive show, which means audience members mix with the actors within the play’s setting.
Meeting at 33 takes the course of an AA meeting: audience members are offered tea and a biscuits on arrival, before being seated in a circle of plastic chairs, and, once the meeting starts, the audience (literally) rub shoulders with actors as they recount their stories.
The play showed in August at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, at the Pleasance Courtyard, ‘unveiling a subject that is too frequently taboo through hope and humour, light and shade, we invite you to consider the universal addictive tendencies which live within all of us.’
Words spoken are from real verbatim accounts of people who actively attend recovery meetings. By doing so, they capture the ‘culture blind’ nature of addiction in a remarkable way. Brought together by their mutual experience of addiction, the speakers’ respective stories span functional but insidious dependency, personal catastrophe, experiences of the criminal justice system, and family turmoil.
Children who grow up with a parent who has a drink problem are 3 times more likely to develop a drink problem themselves, 2 times more likely to be in trouble with the police, 3 times more likely to consider suicide, and 6 times as likely to witness domestic violence.
Throughout Meeting at 33, it becomes apparent that many of the speakers’ also have grown up in a family where alcohol dependency was rife. The show reflects, through its true stories, the way that alcohol addiction has a wider harm than just to oneself. One’s behaviour often stems from experience, and creates a pernicious cycle within the family.
We are delighted to be supported by Second Circle Theatre and incorporated into the show’s promotional literature. We are very much looking forward to hearing what comes next from the show’s visionary writer and director, Hannah Samuels.
Samuels is working on transferring the show to London in 2018, and says that ‘support and responses to ‘Meeting at 33’ have been overwhelming.’
‘For me, the fact we succeeded in providing a safe space for people to reach out and be honest was an incredibly grounding. As a COA, putting my mum’s own battle with alcoholism at the forefront of the work, has enabled me to connect with many other people and families who are suffering, which has been hugely cathartic. With the help of Nacoa, we can continue to break the silence and the stigma surrounding alcoholism!’
You can find out more information about ‘Meeting at 33’ on Second Circle’s Twitter page, @SecondCircle_.
The following hour, drawn from anonymous interviews with addicts, is a plain-spoken and humanely presented account of what takes place between the plastic chairs. New Scotsman
Has drama to help keep you on the edge of your plastic seats. Fringe Review
Meeting at 33 is a touching hour, conveyed with wholehearted honesty, and is certainly one of the most confronting pieces of verbatim theatre at the Fringe. Edinburgh Festival Magazine