Latvian theatre critic Silvija Radzobe on Mental.

Thanks to Anna Zagorska for the translation.

Mental is performed by a young man who is the only member of art and activism collectivecthe vacuum cleaner. In the center of a small room (not bigger than 20 m2) a large mattress is located where someone is sleeping under the blanket. The audience of 15 people sits around this bed.

When the door is closed, a pleasant dark-haired guy appears to audience and for about an hour tells us about his experience of 10-year treatment in various psychiatric hospitals, during which he became a man beyond the society. He shows us the records with hundreds , maybe thousands of pages : medical records , prescriptions , personality tests, police reports … Those are incriminating documents which with an ignorance are treating person only as an object.

He pours out a box full of empty medication packaging which he was made to use within one month during which the following result was achieved – he was no longer able to feel anything.

At the beginning his intonation seems to be ironic, then very personal and incredibly painful. And finally neutral, telling us how one of his guardians have been shown the way to the world of art.

Verbatim, a form of documentary theatre, which as a basis often is using a personal and traumatic biographies, was founded by Spalding Grey in 70’s in USA. And this form is powerfully continued by the vacuum cleaner.

And, honestly, I do not care whether this biography is real or staged – that is how powerful it is. And I have to agree with the organizers of Homo Novus – nowadays art is “the last humane venue”.

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