Quarter Life Crisis came about last year when my cousin was getting married, my friend told me she was pregnant and I was trying to find ways to cheat the system and keep my young persons railcard. As a result of realising that everyone around me was growing up, and I was struggling with trying to ‘remain a young person’ I turned to the page and started writing quarter life crisis.

Yolanda Mercy

Yolanda Mercy

The piece was originally going to be called Totally Underprepared- because I felt that I was not prepared to be an ‘adult’, but with doing more drafts of the play and digging further into what I was experiencing I felt like Quarter Life Crisis was a better suited title.

It's interesting because once I committed to the name, and the piece did its first previews at Arc Stockton and Ovalhouse Theatre- I realised that the title really captured the heart of the piece and what I wanted to say. I wanted to put the question out of when do you become an adult?

Doing the first previews of the show I was blown away by the response of audiences who said that they felt like ‘that's my story on stage’. A lot of people could resonate with the whole aspect of everyone around them seeming to know what they are doing in their life and where they are going. The other aspect of the show that people really resonated with was the heritage.

I am second generation Nigerian, and my heritage features heavily in Quarter Life Crisis because I wanted the fictional character Alicia, who is the central protagonist of the piece, to compare herself to her ancestors, who battled adversity and moved to London from Nigeria. I tell the stories of their journey through poetic phrases like:

By the time she was 21 my mum had me

By the time he was 24 my granddad left Nigeria for a better life in England

By the time she was 25 my great great grandmother was crowned queen of her tribe.

By mapping out the age and journey of ancestors help me to understand why Quarter Life Crisis related to a lot of people, because we live in a very diverse country with so many people who have stories of their ancestors battling adversity to live in this country. And we are products of their strength.

I guess writing Quarter Life Crisis helped me to feel closer to my Nigerian heritage because I get to share my ancestry with an audience every night.  Also, by doing this show and understanding that I have come from inspirational people who overcame a lot by my age, I now feel stronger and more equipped for life. I feel that I am finally able to make peace with becoming an adult. I’m not entirely sure if I am one yet, but I know that I have come to terms with paying full priced travel fare.

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