PTC’s Unscripted series brings playwrights, audiences, and the imagination together

UNSCRIPTED: Szepty/Whispers


Through text and audio contributions from various artists, Szepty/Whispers: Dialogue explores the relationship between mental health disability, language, and lineage. Many awareness campaigns urge us to “break the silence.” But the question of whether – and how – to disclose our experiences is complicated, and tied to our histories. By juxtaposing multiple perspectives, Szepty/Whispers: Dialogue aims to expand the possibilities for how we communicate about madness, trauma, and neurodivergence.

The work, conceptualized by Veronique West, features contributions from mia susan amir, Kagan Goh, Maya Jones, Constantin Lozitsky, Jivesh Parasram, Kendra Place, and Manuel Axel Strain. It is developed in collaboration with The Cultch Digital Storytelling Team (Kris Boyd, David Mesiha and Milton Lim), Sound Designer David Mesiha, Inclusive Designer JD Derbyshire, and Dramaturg Kathleen Flaherty. Szepty/Whispers: Dialogue parallels an in-person performance, which Veronique developed as part of the 2017-2020 PTC Associates cohort.

For Unscripted, we plan to test a version of Szepty/Whispers: Dialogue hosted via a geolocation-based app and QR codes. Using these platforms, we aim to delve deeper into an aesthetic of fragmentation and non-linearity – qualities often connected to experiences of madness and neurodivergence. We also aim to integrate audience contributions as an integral part of the project. We are grappling with how Szepty/Whispers: Dialogue can approach accessibility as an aesthetic – rather than a series of accommodations. This means exploring how creative decisions can centre the needs of Deaf, Disabled, Mad, and Neurodivergent artists and audiences. For Unscripted, since we are using an audio-based app and a text-based QR code system, we are prioritizing hearing and/or reading as forms of perception. We recognize that this will create barriers, limiting who we can bring on as test audience members and consultants. We are questioning/envisioning how future iterations can prioritize more forms of perception, in collaboration with a wider range of test audience members and consultants.