Is there a theatrical version of the ear-worm? Like those tunes that keep you awake at night, running, unfinished and unresolved in your head?
I think I have the theatre version of that.
It's 4:40 am and I can't stop thinking about this damn show I went to see yesterday - and it was just a freakin' preview in a rehearsal hall on a sundry afternoon, so there was no lighting and no set and the music was being played on a laptop, and I could see it all, hear it all, and in my memory it's perfect.
I've read that if you want to get rid of an ear-worm you're supposed to sing the song from beginning until end, out loud. Apparently the ear-worm will be satisfied and you can get back to sleep again.
I've done it with songs before and it actually worked.
I can't really do that with a play, but maybe if I tell someone about it that will do the same thing. Get this thing out of my head….
By Jan Derbyshire
Jan Derbyshire (stand-up comic, improviser, playwright, performer, creative consultant, activist, advocate… etc) tells her story of going through the Mental Health system in Canada.
Basically: She had a breakdown. She got certified "insane" and she lives to tell the tale.
In less capable hands this would be a bloody drag. But Jan disarms right from the top. She has years of performance under her belt, and she uses all of her skill, wit, charm and charisma. She's vulnerable and confident. She's sharp and kind. She's luminous even under fluorescent light. It's incredible. It's funny. It's wise. It's bloody triumphant.
I went to see the preview with Onalea Gilbertson, who is in town working with the Vancouver Opera and the Kettle Homeless Shelter on a piece called, "Requiem for a Lost Girl" (which is the subject for a whole other blog, I think). We left the studio space afterwards and talked for HOURS about the show and about Mental Health. The conversation would drift off into other topics and then, like an earworm, we'd remind each other of some other piece from the show and the conversation would start all over again.
I don't know anyone who isn't touched in some way by mental illness and seeing this show reminded me that it can be really hard to talk about. My uncle once said, "I don't know where to begin."
Personally, I think "Certified" is a freakin' great place to start.
Here's the thing that I absolutely fucking loved about this show (and this isn't really giving anything away, because you'll find out about it in the first five minutes if you go (and you really should go)) - she casts the audience as members of a "psychiatric review board", given three cards (red, yellow and green) and tasked with judging her at the end. Is she "barking mad" red? Is she "proceed with caution" yellow? Is she "go-dog-go" green?
Talk about ballsy.
There are pieces I see that I refer to as "works of heArt" and this is definitely one of them.
It's headed to Calgary this week for a very brief run at the Pumphouse Theatre (four shows, I think she said) presented by Handsome Alice Theatre and I really, really think it should be sold out. I have no idea how the tickets sales are going, so I may be speaking out of turn.
And talk about it
I would like to thank everyone involved in the preview yesterday and wish Jan a very successful run in Calgary.
I'm sure glad I met her.