MOCKINGBIRD, A Darkly Comic Journey Through Postnatal Depression And Back, Comes to Melbourne
For the first time in Melbourne, following sell-out seasons in Sydney, New Zealand and Norway.
Based on the true stories of four generations of women and their devilish alter egos, Mockingbird is a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of both postnatal depression, which affects approximately 1 in 7 Australian women every year, and postnatal psychosis, which affects around 600 Australian women every year.
Written and performed by Lecoq trained actor Lisa Brickell and musician Siri Embla, and directed by Giovanni Fusetti and Ruth Dudding, Mockingbird follows Tina (Brickell), a counsellor who is afraid of commitment and terrified of having children due to her family history of postnatal depression. Brickell masterfully switches between three generations of characters and their menacing 'inner critic' which she performs in a Commedia dell'arte style half mask.
Mockingbird is rich with personal anecdotes from Brickell's own family, and informed by the work of Dr Diana Jefferies and her team at Western Sydney University, who studied historical accounts of women admitted to Sydney's Callan Park and Gladesville Hospitals from 1885 to 1955. The research "provided insights into the criteria that were used to diagnose women with mental illnesses; the treatment and care that they received in hospital; and the social factors that contributed to their conditions." says Dr Jefferies.
Brickell also consulted mental health organisation Changing Minds NZ in the development of Mockingbird. Australian CEO of the Changing Minds, Taimi Allan, says that sharing the real-life "lived experience" is "absolutely integral" to breaking down the stigma, barriers and discrimination associated with mental health issues. "Helping people to share those experiences, through the powerful and engaging medium of theatre and sensitive use of humour, is a wonderful way to gain empathy and understanding rather than sympathy from audiences," says Allan.