Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Edge of reality

Yesterday, I was just too tired to write.  Imagine!  I had spent the day playing a person with paranoid schizophrenia.  I'm glad that I don't suffer from this illness.  It's exhausting.

During the course of the day I had the opportunity to hear a fellow actor play the same role. We had no script, but rather an outline of key thoughts and features of the illness, so the characters were slightly different.   It was interesting to hear that the character sounded strangely rational.

One of the features of this character's delusion was that they had a direct line to God and that they had been chosen.  This got me thinking about belief and religion.  There's that old quip that when you talk to God, that's called prayer, but if He talks back, that's schizophrenia.  I wonder why it's considered perfectly sane (by believers) to talk to God through prayer, but get a response and you'll be committed?

Another feature was auditory hallucinations that were telling me the person I was talking to was a demon and not to be trusted as well as visual hallucinations of demons in the shadows.  This is challenging as an actor.  I've never knowingly encountered someone in this state and have not had the experience myself.  I knew I'd nailed it when several students I was working with looked around to see what I was looking at and identified that I was hearing voices.

That's how I spent my day.  What did you do?

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