The Quiet Room
International Brigade (Cosmopolitan Centre)
4:00pm, Sat 18 Mar 2000
Short Review: Maniac!
A chronical of the mental exploits of a schizophrenic woman locked in a padded cell, The Quiet Room is a solo tour de force for Pam Levin (who both looked and sounded like a psychotic Jena Cane – Quixote, Mirette and Bellini). With just a mattress, a toothbrush and her mental hospital gown & slippers to keep her company on stage, Levin does a wonderful job with a patchy script.
Levin plays the many schizo personalities of Sissy, who has a self-acknowledged “aggression problem”. Locked in the “quiet room” for attacking staff in her hospital, she invents a duck (one of her slippers) to inhabit the room with her, and cycles through many personalities (including the duck!) to fill the audience in on her history. Along the way, she details her descent into madness, her many issues with God, and does a great Flashdance to Michael Sembello’s “Maniac”.
However, at the end of the day, the script is a little too disjointed for my liking – sure Sissy was schizo, but at times the script seemed to skate all over the place. There were some great comedic moments, though – the word association games, and the duck having a hypoglycemic attack were brilliant. And Sissy’s first steps into madness scared the shit out of me (and any other daydreamers!). If only the script were a little tighter…