What is it like to find yourself admitted to hospital with a serious, potentially fatal illness? As the doctors, nurses and your loved ones buzz around you and you drift in and out of consciousness, what goes on in your head? Playwright Shannon Yee has created Reassembled, Slightly Askew – a performance dealing with just that.
After a serious brain infection struck her in December of 2008, Yee found herself paralyzed and fighting for recovery for six weeks in hospital, learning to manage and overcome the resulting brain injury. Reassembled takes you through Yee’s experience, immersing you in her struggle and detailing her recovery from an internal point of view.
It is a performance unlike any other – only eight audience members, or “patients,” are allowed in at a time by the hospital staff, forms are filled out and hospital bracelets are placed on wrists. After being led to a curtained room each participant lies on a hospital bed and is fitted with an eyemask and earphones, and we are then invited into Yee’s most intimate, vulnerable, and personally terrifying experience.
Any worries I had had about possibly falling asleep in this scenario were quickly alleviated once the narration began and I became involved and invested in Yee’s experience from near-death to recovery.
The auditory performance itself is not long, and it takes a short amount of time for the listener to fall into Reassembled’s storyline, beginning with Yee experiencing symptoms while trying to prepare for a trip, her partner then taking her to emergency, and her subsequent admittance into hospital and emergency surgery. Yee’s recovery is told through her raw emotion and snippets of doctors, nurses, and her partner’s interactions with her.
If you have a loved one with a brain injury or are just merely curious, Reassembled, Slightly Askew is an enlightening and powerful auditory performance.
Reassembled, Slightly Askew runs until Sat, Jan. 13 at the St. Louis Hotel as part of this year’s High Performance Rodeo. For tickets and times please go to http://hprodeo.ca.
Kari Watson is a writer and former Listings Editor of FFWD Weekly, and has continued to bring event listings to Calgary through theYYSCENE and her event listings page, The Culture Cycle. Contact her at email@example.com.