Back The Guardian Smile by Sarah Ruhl review – what if you could no longer look happy?
Search Sections 17 Jan
Close
Advertisement
12 Jan 4:00am

Smile by Sarah Ruhl review – what if you could no longer look happy?

The Guardian
Robbed of her smile by Bell’s palsy, the playwright is forced to confront difficult truths in this moving and subtle memoir “Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals,” the gymnast Simone Biles famously retorted when a judge told her to smile more. While that may be true, few would deny that life without smiles would be diminished in ways we can scarcely imagine. What do they mean to us? Does the physical act of smiling create joy, or the other way around? What happens if you can’t smile, even though you want to? These are questions that the distinguished American playwright Sarah Ruhl explores, with a winning combination of wisdom and erudition. Ruhl lost her smile for more than 10 years due to Bell’s palsy, which caused the left side of her face to be almost completely paralysed. The morning after she gave birth to twins, a lactation consultant remarked that her eye looked droopy. When she looked in the mirror, she was astonished to see that half her face had fallen. She couldn’t move the left side at all. That moment marked a profound shift in her life. “Before I looked in the mirror, I was the same person. After looking in the mirror, entirely different.” Bell’s palsy can be brought on by childbirth, although the link is not well understood. While most sufferers recover in weeks or months, Ruhl was one of the unlucky few in whom it endures.
Read full story
 Like Comment
Advertisement

Comments

No comments yet...
On the top

Date settings

Today is Monday, January 17, 2022

+ 1 -
+ 1 -
+ 2016 -

Close

By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookie policy.

Accept

The Guardian

Close