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Performances of A Brief History of Madness

August 28, 2015

Stasha-lee Beukes and Heather Fletcher

Initial performances of A Brief History of Madness will take place at
The Regent Theatre, Greymouth/Mawhera, September 17-19, 7.30pm.
The mad (people who are ‘out of their minds’) have always been an uncomfortable presence for ‘normal society’, for they judge that normality and penetrate its facades.
In Medieval times they were seen as part of the continuum of society and were part of the conversation. They are regulars in Shakespeare’s tragedies (Lear, Ophelia, Lady MacBeth…), and every court had its fool.doctors3 caroline2 Mikaere jimmy
But then the mad were incarcerated in asylums and isolated from ‘normal society’. Then Freud and the talking cure appeared and it was believed that madness could reveal the mechanics of human society and human personality formation.
That in turn went out of fashion as modern medications dulled the wild impulses and people could be managed into performing normality. The mad no longer have anything to teach us.
Except that it is currently proposed to consider their employment future as a commodity to be invested in and speculated upon via social impact bonds, which would seem to indicate a society truly out of its mind.
These are the themes we explore in this theatre piece, written by Paul Maunder. Our motivation? In an increasingly moderated and compliant society, when all and nothing is possible, the very concept of subjectivity seems politically charged, as the realities of climate change, inequality and barbarism penetrate the unconscious.
The structure of the piece is simple. We take some typical Coast stories and run them through different settings: In Part One, Seaview in the early 1930s; in Part Two, a current hospital.
Cast: Heather Fletcher, Jason Johnson, Frank Wells, Caroline Selwood, Elisa Wells, Mikaere Hana, Francis Darwen and Stasha-lee Beukes. Design: Paul Kearns.
Because of the setting, audience numbers for each performance are limited so it will be wise to book at The Regent.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of Creative Communities.

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