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‘Maladjusted’ play highlights mental health services issues

A unique piece of theatre is making its way to Grande Prairie this weekend.

Sponsored by the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, Maladjusted is made up of three stories based on the experiences of its actors, surrounding how certain mental health issues are dealt with.

They include a teenager misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder while grieving the loss of a friend to suicide, a homeless man forced off his medications in order to get shelter, and mental health care workers making poor decisions due to lack of training.

Director David Diamond explains that the vignettes are performed a second time, with the audience invited to intervene.

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“And the second time the audience gets to stop the action of the play if they understand the struggles that the characters are having, and have an idea about how to humanize this care that has become very mechanized.”

The audience members are then invited to take the place of the actors, and Diamond says at every show so far, 90 to 100 per cent of the audience has said they can relate to what they’ve seen.

“So what you get is scenes that happen that have real, honest, emotional resonance based in reality. It’s hard to take your eyes off of because it’s authentic, really creative way exploring ways to humanize the care.”

All of the suggestions made throughout the play’s tour will be compiled for provincial leaders to consider.

Diamond hopes to see a diverse audience that includes everyone from social workers to people in extreme poverty.

Maladjusted runs Saturday at the Showcase Centre.

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