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Maladjusted: humanizing mental health

February 02, 2015 - 10:43 AM

Maladjusted is a powerful interactive play, originally produced in 2013, and created and performed by patients and caregivers. The play addresses issues in our mental health system that are creating barriers to human-centred care.

Theatre for Living (TfL) has been creating cutting edge, controversial and hard-hitting theatre since 1981. Some previous touring productions: No` Xya` (Our Footprints) (1987/88); Meth (2006); Shattering (2008); Corporations in our Heads (2013). Formerly known as Headlines Theatre, TfL takes its new name from Artistic Director David Diamond’s innovative practice that has come to define the company’s work. This year, TfL’s legacy continues with maladjusted, back by popular demand and touring into 26 communities across B.C. and Alberta.

Cast members brought rich and unique real-life experiences as patients and caregivers from within the mental health sector to the original creation and performance of this forum theatre production.

Maladjusted engages audiences with powerful images and authentic voices weaving together three very personal narratives: A young teenager struggling with sadness over her friend’s suicide is misdiagnosed by her doctor and put on prescription drugs; a young homeless man who is legitimately taking prescription meds gets thrown into dangerous circumstances by frustrated social workers, who from within a mechanizing system, are trying their best to help him; and finally, there is all of us, unable to adjust to the needs of a maladjusted mental health sector, who become potential agents for change. How can we support human-centred care? What needs to be done to ensure safety for patients and caregivers? How do we sustain a healthy mental health system? These are just a few questions that  maladjusted explores.

What is forum theatre?
Forum Theatre is an opportunity for creative, community-based dialogue. The play is performed once, all the way through, so the audience can see the situation and the problems presented. The story builds to a crisis and stops, offering no solutions. The play is then run again, with audience members able to “freeze” the action at any point where they see a character engaged in a struggle. In maladjusted  this means trying to receive or give human-centred care  and failing. An audience member yells “stop!”, comes into the playing area, replaces the character s/he sees struggling, and tries out his/her idea to create human-centred care. The other characters respond, not to “make it better”, not to “make it worse”, simply to be truthful, drawing on their own lived expertise. What insights do we have? What do we think? What do we learn? Who agrees? Who disagrees? In this way we engage in a creative and action-based dialogue about issues in our lives. The process is fun, profound, entertaining and full of surprises.

Theatre making policy
Maladjusted enables diverse audiences, made up from the mental health community and the general public to transform the theatre into a centre for dialogue, informing policy creation. Community Action reports created at each event on the tour (these are ideas generated from the local community) will help guide local agencies to humanize their policies.

Maladjusted is an opportunity to enjoy great theatre, engage in creative dialogue and have a transformational experience with family and friends. Bring your loved ones and come share it with us in a community near you.

Theatre for Living in collaboration with the Phoenix Centre and Thompson Rivers University presents:
maldjusted: humanizing mental health. the system. the people. the play.
Date and time: March 14, 7:30 p.m.
Venue and address: Grand Hall at Thomspon Rivers University, Campus Activity Centre
Show info: 250-828-5441
Tickets: Adults $15, Student (with valid student ID) $12

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