Are women and men viewed equally when experiencing the struggle of mental health? Our theory is that assumptions about those with mental illness are vastly different and discriminatory between the two genders. This research project will test this theory by presenting ‘night, Mother by Marsha Norman, which is written for two women, one taking on the role of the mother and the other the daughter who commits suicide at the end of the piece. Throughout the play, we see the mother using many tactics to keep her daughter from ending her own life. The method to test this theory is to cast two women and two men so that each actor will take on the role of a mother, daughter, father, and son. Throughout this presentation, the pairings will change fluidly while working in a neutral setting using the same design elements and text to neutralize gender construct. Research will be conducted to find real-life statistics about those struggling with mental illness for the use of the actor’s process during the project. The purpose of this presentation is to challenge how an audience views mental health when a play written for a specific gender is interpreted by another. We conclude that the audience will judge the genders subconsciously based off their own beliefs. It is my hope as director that the piece will shed light on the stigmas associated with mental health, while also providing an educational experience for all of those that are involved and/or view the piece.
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