Quakes is a historic and unique milestone for theatre. It is the first play written in the new literary genre of “sciction.” It educates theatre-goers while intriguing them with very human issues about patients, and also provides realistic hope for suffering individuals: It shows how even very ill people can get better if they invest effort and their doctors use appropriate but innovative approaches, predominantly medication, but without neglecting the psychological, familial and sociocultural facets.
The playwright Professor Vernon Neppe MD, PhD, FRSSAf, FAPA, FRCPC, FFPsych, MMed, DPM, an internationally acclaimed Neuropsychiatrist, Behavioral Neurologist and Psychopharmacologist: He is listed in all editions of America’s Top Doctors and in the current WhoseWho in the World. He is even leading the USA Ambassador program delegation to China in 2006 in his specialty disciplines. Vernon launched the new literary genre of “sciction‚” in 1999 with his classic book “Cry the Beloved Mind: A Voyage of Hope.” Two real, but traumatized patients from this book became the central characters in the play, Quakes. The “sciction” style required adaptation for theatre and the play went through tens of revisions. The result has been that the medical information and science became comprehensible and even riveting. Directors can even share his real discoveries of the role of the temporal lobes in psychics and of how he pioneered anticonvulsant use in psychiatry.
The alternating scenes of Doctor and Lucy (left stage). and Doctor and Wendy (right stage), set the action for rapid changes of pace, deeper portrayal of characterization, intense communication and development of key themes. The dialogic style of dilemmas and psychological spices, as well as the continuing ongoing voyage of hope are developed while attending to the actual cadence and flow of the play. Direct speeches to the audience (a’la “Molly Sweeney‚”). introduce another style variant.
These facets come together to intrigue and entertain theatre-goers in areas such as normality and abnormality; brain firing and seizures; and smatterings of physics, psychology and parapsychology. In two Acts, we trace the progression from sickness to the adaptation to wellness of both the patients, including early treatment motivations and developments of relationships of trust. We follow the patients initially in detail, and then briefly for almost three years.