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The student newspaper of Imperial College London

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Issue 1778
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

Keep the Cat Free

Ten Reasons Why I'm Wiser

A play based on real letters from Londoners, 10 Reasons Why is just the start of the Arcola Theatre’s “Today I’m Wiser” festival.

Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic


in Issue 1778


10 Reasons Why

★ ★ ★ ★
Arcola Outside
8-9th October, 2021

London is known for its world-renowned arts, historical sites, and fruitful businesses but the essence of this exciting city lies in the people that live in it. 10 Reasons Why is a play by Nicole Botha inspired by real letters from Londoners asking for change. Through poetic words and honest interpretations, this play gives ten people a platform to speak about problems that many of us face but are rarely discussed.

One particularly emotional story focused on a man learning to appreciate the small joys of life that he used to take for granted, now that they are no longer the norm. For all of us, 2020 brought a Christmas like no other. While many spent the festive season without their loved ones, unable to ignore the loneliness and hopelessness that came with it, there were still many lessons to be learned. This individual’s monologue starts with him alone on Christmas day. The turn in the story arrives with his neighbours, who came to share their food. This small act of kindness and generosity moves him to tears, shortly before his own family show up on his doorstep. It was clear that his authentic portrayal had struck a chord with most of the audience.

This small act of kindness and generosity moves him to tears...

Another noteworthy story was told by a young woman who feared for her safety on the tube. On the way back from a night out, she is wearing revealing clothes that a man takes as an invitation to stare, call her out, and touch her. The tension throughout the first half of the monologue was effectively intensified by the accompanying music by Josh Tenor. This was only relieved when she found her group of friends as she alighted at her station. The sense of community we immediately felt as an audience left us all with warmth and comfort as, on stage, her friends approached her, complimented her outfit, and made some banter. Alongside these anecdotes, other issues were touched on: including racism, urbanisation, and other discrimination due to religion and sexuality.

Photo: Elisey Buncelmans
10 Reasons Why at the Arcola Outside

10 Reasons Why is part of Today I’m Wiser: an outdoor festival motivated by a collective desire for change. The festival features work across many genres from classical adaptations to new works-in-progress. We certainly recommend this play for its relatable and honest storytelling. Though this particular play had a short run, there are still tickets remaining for other shows at Arcola Outside — the Arcola Theatre's new outdoor performance space!

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