Her new solo show Change Your Own Life is a warmly presented and sharply observed take on life after death – not for those in heaven, but for those on Earth still writhing in the hellish pain of loss.
In a cosy space reminiscent of a witchy living room – complete with tarot decor, crystal altars, and plants – Sergent describes how her life crumpled under the weight of her twin tragedies. It’s clear that Michael’s death in particular marks a break in her life; from normal, fun-loving, barely-had-hangovers Sergent to the woman we see in front of us now.
It all sounds unbearably sad. And it is, especially when she talks about Michael’s shoes, which she keeps just in case he comes back. But Sergent’s script isn’t about sitting in that sadness, but embracing the transformational power of grief. She’s talking as the phoenix, not the blackened bird sitting in the ashes. That’s why, I think, she talks about the funny, boring parts of death too – like cleaning up bedrooms and hiding sex toys.
Her script is funny and wise, and delivered to us naturally, like we are just hanging out in her living room. With the firm, easy surety that comes with life experience, Sergent reminds us that tropes like ‘faith can save us’ are cliches because they are so true.
Change Your Own Life has kind of changed my life. The idea that pain is always coming for us and we may as well face it is something I know will stay with me. This is genuine, intimate, generous storytelling at its best.