Mental Illness and The Curious Savage
The Curious Savage
11/10 and 11/12/17
The Cabaniss-Kaul Center for the Arts
The Altamont School
The play The Curious Savage is about patients at a home for the mentally ill. Throughout the play the characters slowly reveal, revile, and reflect upon different aspects of their mental illnesses.
Mental health appears differently on different people. Many people struggling with mental illness may look fine on the outside but inside are mentally ill. At the end of the play, the last scene takes a look into the mindset of the patients. On the outside Mrs. Paddy's art work does not look like anything to put in a museum, but in her mind it deserves to be put in the Louvre. To the audience members and the other patients, Florence's child John Thomas is just a doll. Throughout the play it is revealed that Florence has a hard time coping with the loss of her child. Florence's inability to cope with her child's death causes her to go on living as if he was still alive.
Mental illness is very fascinating to learn about. Not every person's symptoms are the same. Some people struggling with mental illness, such as the patients in the play, create their own version of reality. Not many people understand what the patients are going through, causing the patients feel alone and often ridiculed by an ignorant public. Struggling with mental illness can make people feel trapped. Telling other people who are struggling with mental illness that they are "sick" only makes things worse. Not getting help when you feel trapped by your emotions and your own mind can be harmful. It is ironic that by trapping the patients at the Cloisters--the mental health facility in the play, the characters are figuratively set free. In the Cloisters, the patients can be themselves without the judgement of the outside "normal" people who do not understand what it is like to have a mental disorder. People who do not struggle with mental illness are quicker to jump to conclusions without realizing it. And the play reveals, also ironically, that it's often ones whom we think are normal that end up being the most mentally ill and dangerous. They just don't fit some easily diagnosable category.
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The Global Initiative Student Advisory Board, a body comprising students from each grade, reflects on the myriad ways our global themes pop up in curricular and extra curricular experiences. They simultaneously document what the school is doing and reflect our efforts so that we can continue to grow.