Personal Narrative Entry #1

Maddie Williams, D Block, September 16, 2013

Recently, I read the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, by the British neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks. The book is a collection of case histories of different patients Sacks had in the 1970s and 80s. All of the patients have different brain issues, and the book divides the case histories into different categories, including excesses and deficits, "spontaneous reminiscences, altered perceptions, and extraordinary qualities of mind found in mentally retarded people" (Wikipedia). While reading the book, I realized how interesting it would be to adapt some of the stories into a play using viewpoints, and focus on a different viewpoint in each scene. I mentioned brining the book into class with me one day during theatre, and the idea continued to stick with me. Two stories in the book stuck out to me in particular, and in turn, two viewpoints.

"On the Level" is an essay about an elderly man who has trouble walking fully upright, and walks leaning sideways due to Parkinson's disease symptoms that damaged his inner ears. For this scene, I would focus on the topography viewpoint. This would be interesting to portray how the man walks in different situations, and would be cool to work with with different pieces of architecture as well.

The book's titular story is about a man who has visual agnosia, and has trouble recognising everyday objects. His story would be interesting to interpret through the viewpoint of gesture. The actor playing the man could work with gesture (and architecture, I suppose) to describe different objects, and working kinesthetic response in part with gestures with other people would work really well for this story.