Whitehorse director and playwright Arlin McFarlane strives to captivate. She has developed a unique, one-actor play about our ability to change our lives around thanks to neuroplasticity.
The play is about a young girl who is prone to self-destructive behaviour and seeks the help of a scientist. The scientist uses principles of neuroplasticity to help her – our brain changes in accordance with changes in environment, emotions, thoughts, behaviour, etc.
McFarlane’s research into the anatomy of the brain and how it relates to self-destructive behaviour inspired her to create the play.
“Self-harming behaviour does not always refer to suicide. It can be addictions and trauma which also cause us to harm ourselves,” McFarlane says.
She started to see the science of neuroplasticity as being hope for destructive behaviour.
The play is not based on a true story, but does have certain elements of truth to it. To describe this concept, McFarlane refers to a quote from Canadian writer W.O. Mitchell, “Every little bit is true even when the whole thing is a lie.”
She began writing My Brain is Plastic four years ago at the Nakai Theatre’s 24 Hour Play Making Challenge. Actually writing a play is something new to McFarlane, although she has spent numerous years directing theatre productions.
“When you are directing, you have the script, which is like a road map, and you simply follow it,” she says. “Whereas with writing, you have to be exact, but also understand the story you are writing.”
McFarlane and her team presented the play at the Watson Lake Secondary School on Nov. 3, and offered art workshops, and open mic, and tea on Nov. 3 and 4.
On Nov. 5 the community had a feast, followed by a presentation of the play.
McFarlane says the objective of the student art workshops is to raise awareness of these issues.
My Brain is Plastic a multi-media, one-actor show with the protagonist and supporting characters all played by actress Mary Sloan. It is presented by Whitehorse Independent Theatre (WIT).
The next scheduled presentation of My Brain is Plastic will be at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, which will be held in Whitehorse in June.
For more information check the My Brain is Plastic page on Facebook.