Two-Sided Mirror is an interactive role-play based workshop written by Catherine Frid. The scenes tell the story of Jim, a father and grandfather, coping with his daughter’s recent cancer diagnosis. As the story progresses, we see Jim trying to navigate his own feelings of depression and suicidality while supporting Marissa and her daughter, Corrine. As it becomes apparent that Marissa’s illness may be terminal, she begins to consider whether a Medically-Assisted Death (MAiD) is right for her. Through the eyes of Marissa, Corrine, and Jim we see a family contending with the realities of MAiD and its implications, through three different viewpoints.
Jim, like many seniors and their families, has complicated feelings surrounding the separate but intertwined issues of depression, suicide, and MAiD in aging communities. Due to issues such as stigma, ageism, and ableism, there are few places where Elders and their loved ones are able to speak about these challenges honestly and candidly.
Two-Sided Mirror is our offer to these communities. We would like to provide folks with an opportunity to have open and frank conversations around these topics. At the workshops, audiences will be invited by the facilitator to comment on the scenes, suggest changes, and replace characters to try out their own ideas to improve the situation for the characters. Through these dialogues, our hope is that elders and their families will find new ways to support one another if and when these circumstances arise.
Call for Partners for our Upcoming Tour!
MCT will be presenting Two-Sided Mirror in late October/early November 2023 virtually for communities across Ontario. We are looking to connect with organizations who serve seniors to partner with us on the tour and help us bring this program to older adults and their loved ones across the province.
To inquire about partnering, write to email@example.com
We recognize that the content of Two-Sided Mirror, and the issues of Medically Assisted Death (MAiD), Suicide, and Depression in aging communities are complex and nuanced. And we know that as audience members who may be personally impacted by these issues, you may have feelings, thoughts, and experiences you would like to discuss during or after watching this show.
We will have emotional support professionals present at the workshops that audience members can speak to during, and after the program. Thank you to our mental health workers for joining us to provide support for those who need it.
Furthermore, we would like to clarify that our role here is to facilitate a community-led conversation to find ways to respond to these situations. We are not healthcare professionals or practitioners and cannot fill this role for you in any way, including by giving medical advice or information.
If you would like to contact a healthcare professional, we have an emotional support person present at the performance and we also have resources you can access listed on the final page of the digital program.
Seniors 65 years and older have one of the highest rates of suicide in Canada, particularly men. It’s not as publicized as youth suicides, but is just as important. It’s also true that older men are much more likely to die through a suicide attempt than any other group, in part because they have access to more lethal means (prescription medication). Seniors, especially those in residential care, suffer high rates of depression (44%) and loneliness. (Please see links below for the sources of these statistics.)
Catherine first began exploring this subject when she wrote a play about hope and resilience, AfterWhys, for the Suicide Awareness Council of Wellington-Dufferin. AfterWhys focused on rural stigma and community support, and has been well received.
Some additional avenues Catherine wanted to explore in this project with MCT are the distinctions between MAiD and senior suicide, as well as the challenges created by Canada’s diversity, urban loneliness and isolation, lack of family support, and now pandemic anxiety, which strains mental health.
The theatre creation approach outlined in the below video, “Seniors & Suicide – Starting the Conversation with the AfterWhys Play,” was pioneered by the Suicide Awareness Council of Wellington-Dufferin and Catherine Frid. The development process Catherine devised for AfterWhys recognized the taboo nature of suicide for some people, ensured all participants were respected and their stories remained confidential. Catherine used a similar approach for Two-Sided Mirror.
Click on the headings below to learn more about how this project was developed.