Theatre for Living
We were free to come up with the concept, the ideas, the imagery that we created with our bodies, drawings, all sorts of things, sounds from our lived experience. What David helped us with was putting those pieces together, assisting us with the sequence of things, really perfecting moments. But the story and the creation was the cast and the community at large, so I don’t feel that it was a top down process, it was really collaborative. – Erin Arnold, maladjusted cast member
This format makes maladjusted different from the other projects profiled in this Survivor Culture exhibit, for the production was created in collaboration with survivors and ally organizations. The invitation to do the production came out of a long relationship Theatre for Living has with people in health care as well as consumers on the ground – both of whom indicated that they were concerned by the increased mechanization and dehumanization of mental health services.
Theatre for Living uses fictional stories drawn from the lived experiences of participants in the workshops, but avoids telling any one person’s specific story. Because all of the actors in maladjusted played characters to whom they could relate but who were not themselves, the play is neither psychoanalysis nor therapy. Rather, it is uses the theatre as a platform to rehearse behavioral, social change.
The work of David Diamond and Theatre for Living is an outgrowth of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, adapted to include a “systems view” of the world. maladjusted is one of many experientially-inspired social issue productions presented by Theatre for Living (formerly Headlines Theatre) over more than 35 years of operation.