'"Occhi aperti,' she says. Eyes open."
Getting plenty of sleep is part of living a healthy lifestyle, right? For most folks, sure. For some, though, a lack of sleep may be the cure for what ails them. A group of doctors in Italy is pioneering an innovative treatment for bipolar disorder and severe depression: sleep deprivation + light therapy. They call it "wake therapy." In conjunction with lithium, this treatment is allowing some patients to live relatively symptom-free. For certain individuals, it's the only thing that's brought relief in years. (Check out the original article I read here.
I'm totally fascinated by this whole situation: science meets the witching hour; neurochemistry tangoes with torture; the invalid passes through the dark to come back to life. How does wake therapy work? Does anyone, even the doctors prescribing and facilitating it, really know? What happens in the patient's brain? What happens in her experience? Who are the brave/crazy/intrepid/troubled/innovative/obsessive people who came up with and who go through this process?
Since theatre is my mother tongue, my natural next step is to make a show. As a deviser, I don't generally don't start with a concrete idea of what I want to make. Instead, I start with a question (or, in this case, many) that I want to ask. WTF has graciously welcomed me back to North Carolina to take part in the 2018 Occupy Con in order to do that asking.
During Occupy I'm going to lead a 24-hour devising process. That's right, twenty-four whole hours. Three cheers for experiential research! I have no idea what it's like to purposefully stay up for 24 hours–to choose to put your body and mind through that strain in order to see what's on the other side. Come find out with me! We'll immerse ourselves in the practice of staying awake while investigating and creating characters, images, environments, and interactions that will form the first framework of a script and production. Sections of the work will be open to observers along the way, and we'll structure some of the material to share with the public at the end of the day on July 1.
It's cool if you're simultaneously intrigued and trepidatious about the thought of committing to this. I am too. But aren't you curious? Take the plunge and try it out! I have no idea what will happen but I promise it will be a night–and day–to remember.
(Also, no one will be turned away! Come for as long as you can; stay awake for as long as you can. You are welcome to participate or to witness–every contribution is valuable.)
Looking forward to seeing you in Wake Forest!