Madness and Arts 2003 offers an eclectic feast of music, dance, theatre and fine art from around the world. During the festival's run, more than 100 artists from eight countries will be involved. All will address the central issue of creativity and mental health in a wide variety of interesting and entertaining ways.
Ryuzanji & Company, Tokyo, JAPAN
"Educating Mad Persons" by Shuji Terayama
"Educating Mad Persons" is an operetta that depicts a family who has been told by a doctor that one of their family members is mad. Throughout, it is unclear who this one is. Originally created for puppets by the acclaimed Japanese playwright Shuji Terayama, the show has been adapted by Ryuzanji & Co. into a theatrical tour de force which blends choral interludes, physical theatre, dance, as well as traditional Japanese ceremonial and modern costumes. The play first performed in North America to great reviews at Vancouver's Arts Club Theatre in Sept. 2000. It has since toured to Egypt, Russia, China, and Taiwan
Theatre Sycorax, Muenster, GERMANY
"Woyzeck" by Georg Büchner
The plot of Georg Büchner's "Woyzeck" is based on the true story of a sensational jealousy-inspired murder in the early nineteenth century that sparked debate about how the mentally ill are treated. "Woyzeck" is composed entirely of short fragments of scenes found in the playwright's desk drawer after his death of typhus in 1836. Finding a way to integrate these scenes into a production is a tremendous challenge for any theatre artist. This challenge has been taken up by Theater Sycorax, a company that draws most of its membership from mental health consumers. Theater Sycorax has also performed at the 2000 "Borderline" Festival in Muenster.
Website link: www.theatersycorax.de
Workman Theatre Project, Toronto, CANADA
"Vincent" by Terry Watada
"Vincent" is an intense play. A family must deal with a loved one suffering from schizophrenia. Vincent, the central character, is manageable at times, but as time progresses and the options become fewer, his mother and brother cannot deal with his erratic and sometimes violent behaviour. They turn to the medical community, the mental health community, and the police. Each tries to do its best yet each is limited in what it can do. In the end, the onus is placed back on the family. The pressure mounts after each encounter with Vincent; the frustration ends in a decision that is irrevocable and tragic.
Victoria Maxwell, Vancouver, CANADA
"Crazy For Life"
Actor/writer Victoria Maxwell's journey has taken her round the bend and back again: from a meditation group in Kitsilano to the psych ward of Lion's Gate Hospital; through the black suicidal depressions and the manic highs of bipolar disorder. Her one-woman show, "Crazy For Life", both entertains and educates, dislodging stigmas and showing the everyday 'Joe/Josephine Average' face of psychiatric illness. Although centered on Victoria's personal experience of bipolar disorder (manic depression), the play deals with universal themes of pain, courage and hope. It is a celebration of the richness of life and the power of the human spirit.
TAPIT/new works, Madison, U.S.A.
"Soul Journey" by Danielle Dresden
Soul Journey is presented with the generous support of DataMirror.
"Soul Journey" is the story of one woman's passage through pain and bewilderment to growth and understanding. Told through music, monologues, comic scenes and rhythm dance, "Soul Journey" shows there is life, laughter and joy after depression. Based in Madison, Wisconsin, TAPIT/new works tours the United States and Europe, combining cutting-edge performance with community connection.
The Climp Players and the Workman Theatre Project, Toronto, CANADA
"Climps at the Crossroads" - A Clown/Improv Show
What magic emerges from the mysterious darkness of a waterfront theatre when improvisors and clowns dance together? Twenty Workman Theatre Project members will be lead by instructors John Turner, Mumpf and Smoot, and Kate Ashby, The Second City.
Y Touring Company, London, ENGLAND
"Cracked" by Nicola Baldwin
Y Touring Theatre Company appears at the festival with the generous support of CIBC.
A youth-oriented production about a teenage girl's depression and suicide attempt, "Cracked" was funded by the Welcome Trust and produced by the YMCA's touring company, Y Touring. It toured widely in British schools and also played at the Edinburgh Science Festival, London's Mermaid Theatre, and the British Annual Festival in Leeds.
* the show will tour to schools on March 24,25,26,27,28
Website link: www.ytouring.org.uk
Workman Theatre Project, Toronto, CANADA
"Iris the Dragon" by Gayle Grass
Adapted for the stage from her book "Catch a Falling Star", Gayle Grass' play Iris the Dragon deals with the early warning signs of potential mental illness in a child (age 8-10). The central characters Iris the dragon and Fish, a boy who loves fly-fishing, meet on a summer day, and begin exploring and having adventures. They form a close and important bond as Fish's illness develops.
* Iris the Dragon will tour to schools on March 24,25,26,27,28
Rosanna Gamson/World Wide, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
First inspired by Freud's writings on hysteria, which he described as a disease afflicting sexually frustrated women, "Lovesickness" examines health and disease in terms of unsatisfied desire. The first act of "Lovesickness", Hexen (Witches) presents the advent of psycho-analysis and moving pictures as two revolutionary forces propelling the world into a new vision of itself. As the 20th century looked at the psyche, the 21st century looks at the cell. The second act of "Lovesickness", Närrinnen (Fools) examines the understanding of mental illness, a hundred years after Freud, as a biochemical imbalance or a genetic pre-disposition. Human beings, their behaviour and emotions, are portrayed as beautiful ephemeral structures encoded, by nature or nurture, with patterns that persist beyond the life of the individual organism.
Website link: www.rosannagamson.org
La Orquestra de los Pacientes del Hospital
Psiquiatrico de La Habana, Havana, CUBA
La Orquestra de los Pacientes del Hospital Psiquiatrico de La Habana appears at the festival with the generous support of Sherritt International.
The Patient's Orchestra at the Psychiatric Hospital of Havana, Cuba, has been entertaining audiences in many Latin American countries for years. These talented musicians are also people who have received mental health services from the hospital. Facilitated by the Psychiatric Hospital of Havana, Cuba, the musicians perform regularly as both a full orchestra and a smaller band of 5-8 people. The groups have a lot of performance experience, having played at national events, the Pan Am games and psychiatric conferences. The festival looks forward to featuring the orchestra's 10-person ensemble in its cabaret series.
Billedspor (Picturemark), Arhus, DENMARK
RAG Theatre Troupe, Port Phillip, AUSTRALIA
Workman Theatre Project, Toronto, CANADA
"In the Room"
The International Collaborative Workshop will bring together three companies to develop an hour long show on mental illness. Billedspor (Picturemark), a company that creates performances through expressions of the body and mask with those who have mental health issues and RAG Theatre Troupe, a company dedicated to developing opportunities for people with psychiatric disabilities, will join with the WTP to create a performance piece that deals with global mental health issues inspired by the phrase "In the Room". The result of the collaboration will be presented as the festival's closing production.
Throughout the Harbourfront Centre, buskers, clowns and improvisational acts will perform daily. These performances will be based on work Workman Theatre Project members will have developed with various local theatre professionals throughout the year. This is part of the ongoing arts training programs for the members at the Workman Theatre Project.
Sky Works Charitable Foundation, Toronto, CANADA
Film Screening--"Our Best Interests at Heart" by Laura Sky
This compelling documentary was inspired by the story of Edmund Yu, a distraught psychiatric survivor who was shot and killed by Toronto police after an altercation on a streetcar in 1997. In fact, Our Best Interests at Heart opens with a riveting first-person account of that controversial shooting -- by a police constable who was there. The life and death of Edmund Yu is the starting point for this unique feature-length documentary that looks at ways to resolve mental health crises without resorting to violence. As award-winning producer-director Laura Sky points out, it's a critical issue that concerns police, psychiatric/consumer survivors, the legal system, mental health workers, and involved members of the public. Sky explores the issue by focusing on the personal, often moving stories of survivors and police working to prevent future tragedies.
For information on reserving seats, please call (416) 536-6581 during business hours.