TOUCHED BY LYME: “A very funny play about Lyme disease”
How humorous can a person be when talking about tick-borne illness?
Now’s our chance to find out! On Thursday, May 6, there will be a livestreamed event that seeks to answer that question.
It is a reading of the latest draft of a play-in-progress called The Great Imitator. (Promotional materials call it “A very funny play about Lyme disease.”)
It’s the brainchild of 26-year-old playwright Patricia Cosulich, who lives in Southern California. She started having severe knee pain and other symptoms of Lyme disease back in ninth grade.
Her health went up and down over several years–without a diagnosis. She finally found out she had Lyme when she was in college.
“Of course, Lyme disease is no joke,” Cosulich assured me in a phone call. But, I have to agree, Lyme patients live through a lot of ridiculous circumstances on the path to diagnosis and treatment. There’s certainly plenty of fodder for a comical look at the whole situation.
Comedy and drama
While working on a Master’s in “Social Innovation,” Cosulich interviewed other Lyme patients, their loved ones, advocates and doctors. In time, this material took shape as a play, where she strives to interweave the comedic and dramatic aspects of living with Lyme disease.
The pandemic threw a monkey wrench into the cast’s initial plans to practice in person. But four actors, Director Diana Wyenn, and Cosulich have been working via Zoom for some time now. Cosulich says she’s pleased with how it’s coming together.
The cast and director bring special insight to the production, she says. Two of the actors have personal experience with Lyme disease. Another has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (a connective tissue disorder). And the director has Type 1 diabetes. Thus, says Cosulich, there’s a lot of sensitivity to the issues of invisible illnesses and how the general public misunderstands them.
She says she created this play to help change the way we view healing, build community, mobilize policy change, and fundraise through storytelling.
Once the play is finalized, she plans to make the script freely available in future years to various groups who want to stage productions in their local areas. (Perhaps for Lyme Awareness Month?) She views it as a vehicle to make messages about Lyme disease more accessible to audiences who may know little about it.
In the meantime, we are all invited to watch a livestreamed reading of the latest version of the play on May 6—and to participate in a “talkback” with the playwright and the director afterwards.
I’ve already reserved my ticket. What about you?
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s Vice-president and Director of Communications. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.