Play tackles mental health issues

Maladjusted is an interactive play created and performed by patients and caregivers from the mental health industry,

A teenager coping with the suicide of a friend is misdiagnosed by her doctor, and a homeless man is thrown into a dangerous situation by a social worker trying to help.

Maladjusted, an interactive play created and performed by patients and caregivers from the mental health industry, uses the real-life experiences of its performers to open a dialogue about mental heath.

Produced by Theatre for Living, a forum-type theatre that presents the issues then encourages the audience to participate in a solution. It is designed to create discussion in an entertaining and innovative way.

“The audience interaction is the discussion,” said director David Diamond. “They provide a solution and we spend a moment reacting and talking about it.”

The play is performed building up to a crisis and ending abruptly without resolution. Then it is performed a second time where members of the audience can engage with characters when they face a conflict, and the cast will react by drawing from their own experiences.

Diamond, an award-winning director of more than 500 community-based projects, is looking for ways to talk about mental health and re-humanize mental health care.

“Instead of saying we’re going to try to educate you, [we say] we have this real problem, we don’t know what to do.”

Diamond said audience reaction has been good and participation is always high. He said it’s a lot of fun with a lot of laughter, even if you choose to spectate only.

“You are seeing different perspectives coming onto the stage represented in an honest way, and something changes in the room,” said Diamond. “We laugh together, cry together, sit in silence together and deal with it,” he said “and be entertained.”

Touring through 26 communities in B..C and Alberta, Maladjusted is in Victoria for one night only on Jan. 31 at the Songhees Wellness Centre. Tickets are $15, or $12 advance. Please go online to purchase at ow.ly/F7vHQ.