The first thing many people think of as a “cancer patient” tends to be an elderly person, or perhaps a child too young to understand what’s happening — pink ribbons and fundraising walks, weak and feeble bodies too sick and delicate to function. These notions of a “quintessential cancer patient” are both limiting in their scope of what the disease actually is, and isolating to younger people going through it. For people who don’t fit this predetermined idea of the psychological, physical, and emotional development of a cancer patient (specifically, the seventeen to thirty-five age range), isolation becomes another side effect of their illness. Frustration, anger, and depression erupt from being old enough to strive for independence, but stuck being completely dependent on the people around them. People who, unfortunately, tend to panic and disappear when needed the most. It suggests a disturbing trend towards willful ignorance of a society that’s become jaded and uninterested in stories of cancer. A society that pities the sick and views them as helpless victims while simultaneously not taking the time to listen, far too complacent in its understanding of cancer and what it does to the human mind and body. Through the intensely personal medium of ethnodrama, a style of playwriting based on interviews and testimonial, dialogue derived from the direct words of young adults with cancer will allow these stories of pain, dis-ease, success, and frustration to be heard in a personal, unique, and theatrical way.
Thompson, Jake Russell, "Mind+Body: An Ethnodrama About Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology" (2014). Student Research Day Abstracts and Posters. 22.