“Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we’ve ever met." Marguerite Duras
Kirsty’s mother is inappropriate, embarrassing and definitely unusual. For 25 years Kirsty accepted crazy as conventional. All mothers are slightly insane, right? But Kirsty’s mother isn’t like all mothers… If you’re raised in madness who tells you what’s normal?
This solo show is a frank, funny and deeply touching tale of Kirsty McKenzie and her schizophrenic mother. Join Kirsty as she attempts to distinguish her mother from the madness, the one subject no one wants to mention.
Based on a true story and from first-hand experience of schizophrenia, this new play by Scottish playwright Fiona Geddes and award-winning director Jessica Beck explores a young woman’s journey of understanding whilst caring for her schizophrenic mother.
Normal/Madness premiered at The Pleasance, Edinburgh, running July 30th - August 25th 2014. In 2015, Normal/Madness embarked on a Scottish tour, playing theatres such as the Eastgate Theatre, The Byre Theatre, East Kilbride Arts Centre, Paisley Arts Centre, Eden Court Theatre, The Lemon Tree, Camus Arts Centre, Assembly Roxy, The Cat Strand, The Swallow, and a sold-out run at The Tron Theatre, Glasgow.
Normal/Madness is based on the writer’s direct experience of schizophrenia within her family and was developed with support from the Arts Council England and in consultation with medical professionals and the charity Rethink Mental Illness. Whilst candid and comical, at its core this story deals with a tension that is fundamental to the human condition: knowing one thing, suspecting it’s not ‘right’, but having no alternative.
One of the driving forces behind this piece is a direct rebellion against the isolation of experiencing schizophrenia. The illness goes unspoken both by her family members and the society around them, an alarming reality that has become a defining feature of living with mental health issues.
In society ‘crazy’ is viewed as the ‘other’, the unknown, people keep their distance from it; but for this young woman it formed the core of her familial structure. If you are raised in madness who tells you what’s normal?
★★★★★ What's On Stage
"Geddes’ performance is one that is brave, frank and downright devastating… great theatre.’
★★★★ The Scotsman
"Honest, moving… captures the complex interplay of duty and freedom and family."
★★★★ The Edinburgh Guide
"Hilarious at times and heart-breaking in others… Normal/Madness is an unpretentious and authentic show that shouldn’t be missed."
★★★★ Broadway Baby
"Powerful and moving… funny, to the point of belly laughter (with) an almighty, but tactfully underplayed, emotional punch."
★★★★ TV Bomb
“This brave, edgy, and omniscient script – written by a rising (if not already risen) Scottish talent, and littered with poignancy, love, and the occasional flutter of humour – is one stage writing debut everyone should enjoy.”
“A show that is performed with great sympathy that you will take heart from."
★★★ The Herald
“Geddes' portrayal of Kirsty's mother that provides some of the play's most poignant moments.”
“Credit is due to Jessica Beck as both dramaturg and director who has fashioned a tremendous piece of theatre.”
“The impact of Fiona Geddes’ solo show Normal/Madness is undeniably powerful. It is a candid, humorous and very real exploration of the impact that mental illness can have upon relationships.”
“Ignorance breeds shame, and Geddes set out to annihilate both with a piece of theatre that attempts to educate her audiences about the illness and its social effects in equal measure."
"A moving and realistic piece of theatre [...] well researched and the script is excellent."