Jun 11

Verb Theatre’s newest work looks at Doctor Assisted Suicide

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

Learn more about the Dandelion Project on Event Calendar

“Nothing in life prepares one for this,” is one of the lines from Verb Theatre’s newest play The Dandelion Project, a theatrical documentary that explores the controversial topic of doctor assisted suicide. The topic of the play was inspired by the research the team, (Jamie Dunsdon and Col Cseke, co-artistic directors for Verb Theatre) did when they put on Jim Forgetting last year. In investigating end of life care and how people with Alzheimer’s ended their lives, Dunsdon decided that she would really like the company to look at doctor assisted suicide. “We started doing interviews and transcribing and editing them together, and that turned into a play,” Dunsdon explains. “Basically, it’s a collage of voices from people who are, in one way or another, involved in the debate around doctor assisted suicide and end of life care.”

Dunsdon points a case in BC, where Gloria Taylor, a young woman living with ALS, applied and was successful in her application to end her life with assistance from a doctor. Her case was appealed and was still in the courts upon her death. Verb Theatre has decided to explore this issue because “there are cases in court [and] it’s a timely and urgent issue right now.”

Dunsdon went into the projects with her own ideas and opinions on the issue. “It’s a polarizing debate, this doctor assisted suicide,” she says, “people are usually for or against and I would admit that when I came into this I was pretty heavily bias. I was pretty in favor of legalizing.” But the creative team wanted to present a unbiased production. “At the very least, we wanted to make sure that both sides of the debate was presented evenly or as evenly as we could,” Dunsdon says. In doing working on the project, Dunsdon has become less certain in her convictions. “I’ve become less positive that it’s something that should be legislated. I’m not saying I’ve completely changed my mind, but I’m less sure than I was before.”

The Dandelion Project is not a typical play. Not only does it deal with a pretty controversial topic, but it’s a verbatim docudrama one woman show (the play stars Monice Peters). The great thing about this form of storytelling is that it “embraces subjectivity” as Dunsdon puts it. “It doesn’t ask audiences to actively be objective to it. Your subjectivity is important to how you view this piece. I hope our audience feels with the people [in the play].”

The Dandelion Project opens for a preview performance tomorrow and runs until June 22nd at the Epcor Centre’s Motel. Tickets and more information is available online.


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