Quakes: A play by Vernon M Neppe MD, PhD
Quakes is a historic and unique milestone for theatre. It is the first play written in the new literary genre of “sciction”. It educates theatre-goers while intriguing them with very human issues about patients. It also provides realistic hope for suffering individuals: It shows how even very ill people can get better if they invest effort and their doctors use appropriate but innovative approaches, predominantly medication, but without neglecting the psychological, familial and sociocultural facets.
The playwright Professor Vernon Neppe MD, PhD, FRSSAf, FAPA, FRCPC, FFPsych, MMed, DPM, an internationally acclaimed Neuropsychiatrist, Behavioral Neurologist and Psychopharmacologist: He is listed in all editions of America’s Top Doctors and in the current WhoseWho in the World. He led the the first US Delegation in Delegation in Psychopharmacology and Neuropsychiatry. (People to People Ambassador Program to China in June 2006). His other listings include Best Doctors in America, 500 Leaders of Influence , 2000 Notable American Men, 5000 Personalities of the World, Great Minds of the 21st Century and International Man of the Year. Educated in South Africa and at Cornell University, he has lectured around the world in medicine, pharmacology, psychiatry and anomalistic psychology and all of these disciplines come to life in this play. He has published seven books and has over 300 publications.
A suicidal mother, and a computer specialist whose epileptic seizures predict earthquakes, are the neuropsychiatrist’s patients in this brilliantly conceived three-person play of hope and medical dilemmas written in the new literary genre of sciction (science through literature). Because it is the first such play it is bound to become a classic.
The alternating scenes of Doctor and Lucy. and Doctor and Wendy, set the action for rapid changes of pace, deeper portrayal of characterization, intense communication and development of key themes. The dialogic style of dilemmas and psychological spices, as well as the continuing ongoing voyage of hope are developed while attending to the actual cadence and flow of the play. Direct speeches to the audience (a’la “Molly Sweeney”). introduce another style variant. These facets come together to intrigue and entertain theatre-goers in areas such as normality and abnormality; brain firing and seizures; and smatterings of physics, psychology and parapsychology. In two Acts, we trace the progression from sickness to the adaptation to wellness of both the patients, including early treatment motivations and developments of relationships of trust. We follow the patients initially in detail, and then briefly for almost three year. Vernon launched the new literary genre of “sciction” with his classic book “Cry the Beloved Mind: A Voyage of Hope”. Two real, but traumatized patients from this book became the central characters in the play, Quakes. The “sciction” style required adaptation for theatre and the play went through tens of revisions. The result has been that the medical information and science became comprehensible and even riveting. Directors can even share his real discoveries of the role of the temporal lobes in psychics and of how he pioneered anticonvulsant use in psychiatry.