SEPTEMBER 2019 | Volume 183


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by Jan Derbyshire
Touchstone Theatre
The Cultch Vancity Culture Lab
Oct. 31-Nov. 16
$35/$20 or 604-251-1363

Jan Derbyshire's Certified is a hilarious and heart-aching journey through the mental health system

With refreshing humour, this memoir-play cracks open the stigma around mental health and waits for your response.

Comedian and certified insane person Jan Derbyshire turns the audience into a mental health review board to help determine her current state of sanity. Through this fiercely funny one-woman show, Jan tells you all about her experience being certified a total of 8 times, and how she got to where she is today. Join the irreverent fun of Jan's journey through the mental health system and grapple with hefty questions like: how do we define "crazy" and who gets to decide? In this case: you do.

This show has seen a number of productions across the country since it first premiered in 2018 at Handsome Alice Theatre (Calgary). It's the 23rd play that Jan has written, 8 of which were solo shows.

Jan says, "I think that it's a wonderful feeling to be able to laugh at something that we don't think we can laugh at, and to experience that opening from an audience and then take them a little deeper, and then bring in other laughs... I really treat depression with humour. If I [lose] my own humour, then I will be listening to stand-up or finding whatever I can to kind of right myself again."

Touchstone Theatre Artistic Director and Certified Director Roy Surette adds, "Mental health issues have come out of the closet recently, though there still is much stigma attached—especially suicide ideation and harrowing pharmaceutical experiences like the ones Jan has lived through. Employing her audacious, articulate writing style, Jan creates candid, compelling material about discovering her need for vigilant self-care. Her background as a trail blazing, queer, female stand-up comedian and her vast experience as a playwright-performer contributes to making Certified a rich and unique work."

Written and Performed by Jan Derbyshire
Directed by Roy Surette

Certified by Jan Derbyshire.
A Touchstone Theatre Production at the Vancity Culture Lab, October 31–November 16
Preview: October 31 at 8pm. Opening: November 1 at 8pm. 
Tickets: General: $35; Preview: $20; Student/Senior/Artist: $20. 
Box | 604.251.1363. 
Showtimes: Tuesday–Saturday8 pm; 2 pm matinees: Nov 3, 9, 10, 16. 

About Certified

"Jan Derbyshire is a skillful comic who can make you laugh at anything" —Irish Times

"Derbyshire is really something, tearing into her part like Bette Davis with Margo Channing in All About Eve. You're not likely to forget Derbyshire's any more than Davis' Margo" —LA Times

About Jan Derbyshire: Select plays from Jan (JD) Derbyshire include CertifiedStoodA Modern Woman's Guide to Female ImpersonationGloomAll InJoke YouFunny in the HeadMe on the Map with Adrienne Wong, Dog of my UnderstandingAuditions for an Embarrassed WomanTurkey in the WoodsIngenious Speculations with Rita Bozi and Kim Selody, The Opposite of Everything is True, and Under the Big Top. Her plays have been produced by Belfry Theatre (Victoria), Buddies in Bad Times (Toronto), and Vancouver companies Frank Theatre, Neworld Theatre, and Solo Collective, with festival presentations at FoldA (Kingston), Uno (Victoria), PuSh (Vancouver), Summerworks (Toronto), People's Comedy Festival, Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival, and Vancouver International Children's Festival. In 2017, JD participated in the Banff Centre Playwright's Lab and the Playwright's Unit at Alberta Theatre Projects with co-creator Adrienne Wong. Her fictitious memoir, Mercy Gene: the man made making of a mad woman, currently awaits publication.

About Touchstone Theatre: Touchstone has been a mainstay of theatrical innovation and excellence on the West Coast for over 42 years. The company's all-Canadian mandate has helped to launch and develop some of the country's most important theatre artists, and its substantial body of work has garnered over 75 local and national awards. The company explores the contemporary Canadian play through content and form, and stimulates public interest in Canadian cultural perspectives.




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Vancouver's arts and culture website providing theatre news, previews and reviews