Interview: Marianna Joslin opens her heart about Fallot

A stereotypical heart patient isn’t a young, fit circus performer, but Marianna Joslin is breaking the mould and sharing her inspiring story through Fallot (FÄ-'LŌ)

feature (adelaide) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 16 Feb 2018
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Beating 10,000 times a day, we live to the rhythm of our heart and depend on it every second. Connected to our physical and emotional state, if this astounding organ falters it can flip our entire being upside down.

Joslin has battled against the odds since being diagnosed with a rare congenital heart condition, tetralogy of fallot, at six years old. As a child she struggled walking up a hill, but after undergoing open-heart surgeries, a heart valve transplant, and intensive medical support, she’s soared to great heights.

‘A circus performance with a cabaret twist’, Fallot (FÄ-'LŌexplores ‘our relationship with our heart and thus, self.’ Through acrobatics, the production follows Joslin’s journey of being ‘cut open, sewn back together, transplanted and transformed,’ but more broadly it’s about “exploring the heart as an organ and as the centre of our body and how that affects us,” she explains.

Joslin has teamed up with Company 2, the team behind Cantina and Scotch & Soda, for their ‘most innovative theatrical venture yet.’ “They were really excited about the concept and also current research by the HeartMath Institute into how the heart actually thinks faster than the brain at certain times and is our emotional regulator more than we recognise,” says Joslin.

Within Fallot Joslin shows her physical recovery, which has been physically well managed, but mentally she’s struggled. “I had six months of nightmares each time I had surgery. I had a whole year of basically a phantom surgery when I was 21.” This psychological aspect of sickness is sometimes forgotten. “For me it's been this lifelong experience of understanding the deeper and deeper layers of how that affected me.”

The emotion conveyed in Fallot, and Joslin’s experience, is not unique. “People really connect to it and that’s the thing I want the most. What else is the point if we're not sharing our stories to understand more about ourselves, the world and each other?”

Heart Foundation SA Chief Executive Officer Imelda Lynch is a big supporter of Joslin too, understanding both the complexity of her condition and the power Fallot has “to inspire others to overcome their own obstacles, get active and chase after their dreams.”