“Stories are what connect us to each other. I have had many audience members say, 'You’re telling my story.' I state that in the beginning of the play. I know my story is not all that unique, but talking about it openly may be what sets it apart,” says Tamara Lynn Roberts, writer and sole performer of Psycho Bitch
. The show recounts her experiences with mental illness and aims to raise awareness and fight stigma surrounding these issues. “Stigma is incredibly powerful in keeping people from getting the help they need. Not only did I experience this personally, but as a mental-health worker (my day job), I see this every day,” Roberts says.
In 2010, while talking about her experiences with mental health at an open-mic night hosted by comedian Paul Hutcheson, Roberts was surprised by the response. “It went over really well, but what struck me the most was that after the set, eight people out of 40 came up to thank me for sharing my story and started to share theirs. I was struck by how much it resonated for people who were in the room,” she says. She immediately set about creating Psycho Bitch
. It achieved considerable success onstage and is now being remounted.
Roberts generally tries to donate profits from her shows to organizations dealing with mental health. “This year I chose Youth Line," she says. "I used to work at Youth Line and recognize quite intimately the work that is being done to support queer and questioning youth across Ontario.” – Jeremy Willard
Psycho Bitch is Fri, Feb 8 to Sun, Feb 10 at The Electric Theatre, 299 Augusta Ave. pkpinup.com