Being born and raised with two cultural identities – Chinese and Canadian – I have seen and experienced how mental illness can be perceived negatively in both cultures. In Asian culture, mental illness is kept secret because it is considered taboo. In Western culture, it is viewed with disdain and often ignored which results in mental illness being left untreated.
Born from primary source documents (doctor’s notes, interviews, journal entries, poetry, and artwork) as the springboard for creation, Unmasked gives audience members an opportunity to experience the psyche of a patient who falls prey to psychosis and goes on a journey of healing and re-engagement with the world. Those around her become harder to trust and the truth becomes harder to find, but the journey is one that sheds light on what it is to be human: to be fragile, resilient, and inherently worthy.
There’s a quotation by American writer & psychotherapist Thomas Moore from his novel Care of Soul which I feel encapsulates my story in one sentence “Only in mystery and madness is the soul revealed.” When psychosis built a false reality around me, it stripped me down to my most raw and vulnerable form.
Following a two-year development process supported by SK Arts, the premiere production of Unmasked took place in September 2021, at Saskatoon’s Studio 914.
Produced by Yin Yang Theatre, in partnership with La Troupe du Jour, Unmasked marked a return to professional indoor theatre in Saskatoon after pandemic shutdowns.
This production was supported by SK Arts, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Saskatchewan Association for Theatre Professionals.
Unmasked Star Phoenix Article
Bunnyhugs Podcast: Unmasked & Mental Illness