Touchstone Theatre
Certified by Jan Derbyshire

Date and Venue October 31 – November 16, 2019, 8pm (2 pm matinees on Nov 3, 9, 10, 16) | Vancity Culture Lab, The Cultch

Director Roy Surette Performer Jan Derbyshire

Reviewer Jason Martin

Jan Derbyshire examines, lifts and even catapults heavy themes on mental health, gender identity and being human in her one-woman show, Certified.

With fragility, courage, heft and tenacity she takes the audience through her personal story navigating the mental health system as a person inflicted with depression, anxiety, alcoholism and mental illness including hearing voices. But “navigating” is too weak a word, too clinical: a euphemism.

She takes us on a truly topsy-turvy ride of her experience from the moment she was first “certified as insane” to the subsequent times that followed. But before her story begins, she turns the audience into a mental health review board to help determine her current state of sanity. With irreverence, depth and vulnerability Derbyshire asks her audience to together, grapple with lofty questions like: how do we define “crazy” and who gets to decide?

Within the first thirty seconds, you are at ease, captivated and laughing. Derbyshire says in the conventional mental health care system the diagnosis becomes the story. Your story is your mental illness. Without ever mentioning the word de-stigmatize, she has you rethinking how we should think about mental illness and the unique human individual behind the disease.

Go to learn, laugh and delight in Derbyshire’s incredibly witty, insightful and earnest mind. You’ll discover sanity is in the eye of the beholder.

© 2019 Jason Martin