Several MindFreedom members introduced a “Normality Screening” guerilla theater event at the 2005 Oregon Country Fair that you can easily do. A friendly Clown Troupe in the international network of Patch Adams clowns based in Florence, Italy taught MindFreedom International members to do this. Patch is a longtime MindFreedom leader through the sponsor group Gesundheidt Institute.
HOW TO DO A NORMALITY SCREENING GUERILLA THEATER!
Here’s how we did our screenings… you can try it out. Spread the word!
The MindFreedom Clown Troupe dressed in white coats, rubber noses (some of which could squeak), and funny hats. Several held rubber chickens. All these props are easily available online or through your local custume/theater/joke store.
An option: Sometimes the clowns held up a prop doorway similar to an airport security screening door. We just made one of plastic tubes with crepe paper hanging out.
The MindFreedom Clowne Troupe then announced loudly to passerby that, “There’s been a rumor of an outbreak of normality here! Please do not panic! DO NOT PANIC! Please just step through here for the normality screening.”
As interested participants walked through the our screening, we scanned them with rubber chickens and our rubber noses squeaked! We asked people if it was okay to “wand” them with rubber chickens, which led to still more rubber-nose-squeaking. Depending on the willingness of the participants, those being screened were encouraged to answer absurd but friendly questions, or make animal noises and strange dance moves. This always attracted a crowd.
No matter what absurd question or absurd answer, here’s the punch line: Absolutely everyone was and always is cleared of “normality.” You see, there is no “normality.” They are given a small coupon that said they were “Normality Free,” and on the back was serious information about President Bush’s plans to make mental health screening “common practice.”
The gathered crowd had fun, and learned a bit about the danger of “mental health screening.” More than 1,000 normality screenings were done, to the delight of all.
The wonderful thing about “screening for normality” is that you have fun running around searching for rumors of an outbreak “normality,” but you never ever find any, because it is always — always — a false alarm, since no real “normality” has ever been found. Thanks much to the Florence, Italy Patch Adams Clown Troupe for your inspiration and workshop! May “Normality Screenings” reach millions of people!
USA – Click here to download two-to-a-page MS Word attached file of the “You Are Normality Free” coupon. Just download, print out, photocopy back to back on colored paper, and cut down the middle.
International version – Click here to download an MS Word attached file of the “You are Globally Free of Normality” coupon. Just download, print out, photocopy back to back on colored paper, and cut down the middle.
USA – Four-to-a-page, just click here to download an MS Word file of four-to-a-page “Normality Free” coupons. Just download, print out, photocopy back to back on colored paper, and cut into fours.