BY EMILY VENEZKY// You don’t venture out to the Mount Vernon blackbox, hidden deep inside West Hall, for just any production, but I’d call The Wonderful World of Dissocia a unique experience that even a jumpy ride on the Vex is worth.
The play takes you through the confused mind of a woman having a dissociative episode and then shows you where she really is, in a psychiatric hospital. Despite the dark implications of mental illness, this play creates a bright and colorful world to represent something that our society tends to disregard as taboo and scary. In The Wonderful World of Dissocia, Lisa’s never-named mental illness is not something that’s always scary, sometimes it’s wacky, funny, insecure, and manifests itself as a sweet polar bear singing about death. It’s approach to mental illness is original and theatrical, but it still grounds you in the reality of the pain that rests behind it.
The 14th Grade Players make a wonderful rendition of this play. The costumes and the set were versatile, allowing for very obvious changes in mood with only the slightest effort. The actors in the ensemble played many wacky characters and did an amazing job changing their whole demeanor for every scene. Kate Sory especially did an amazing job going from the cuddly Polar Bear to the wise and incomprehensible Biffer, lending both comedy and softness to each character. Playing the nasty goat, Ignacio Rivera Munoz had the audience in the palm of his hand, with laughter pouring out of us even when he made the slightest silly movement. And of course, Maria Ferrugato, playing Lisa, lent a human element to the craziness by making the audience empathize with her struggle as they followed her journey through Dissocia.
Don’t miss out on the last few showings of The Wonderful World of Dissocia! They have two more shows tonight, one at 7 pm and another at 10 pm. The link to their Facebook is here.