By: Molly Shea '16
Advising Faculty: Kenneth Prestininzi
This honors thesis is a display in Tansill Theater Lobby. The installation was open to the public throughout the 3rd Annual 2016 Theater Capstone Festival.
Modern Theatre Representations of Mental Health and the Mental Health Industry
An interactive experience by Molly Shea ‘16
“What if you were given a card with a word that told everyone your mental state? What if that card said: Psychotic. Insane. Crazy. Mad. Normal. Or next to normal? This interactive experience will ask each participant to look at how words create an otherness when the fact is, what’s mad, crazy or abnormal is a universal human experience. How does the language we use to describe mental illness shape the way we conceptualize the experience of treating mental illness? What makes us think of the world in binaries of crazy and normal, mad and not mad, me and not me.
“Authentic depictions of mental illness on stage are relatively new to the theater repertoire, and even some of the so-called ‘best’ plays still seem to reflect our negative cultural perception around mental illness. This interactive experience takes the language of treatment in 4.48 Psychosis, Next to Normal, and Equus and puts you in their world. What does it feel like to be Diana or Alan? What does it feel like to be the Psycho-pharmacologist or Dr. Dysart? Does being in their position feel comfortable? Safe? Do their words make you want to seek treatment? Do they make you feel crazy?”
Related Fields: Theater