Photos by Mae Koo & Cooper Bates
created and performed by Diana Wyenn
written by Diana Wyenn and Guy Zimmerman
After more than a decade of living with Type 1 Diabetes, I have turned all my skills as a storyteller toward creating a theatrical response that dispels the lies, mystery, and shame surrounding diabetes in all its forms.
Blood/Sugar, is an evening-length solo performance about diabetes that uses contemporary theater to explore the realities of this growing epidemic and challenge the binary of health and illness. A 20-minute lecture-performance is also available.
Today, 1 in 10 U.S. adults has diabetes and if trends continue the CDC projects that as many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults could have diabetes by the year 2050. The important word is "could" because together we can stop this epidemic.
Contact me to book a performance for your community.
Historical perspectives and staggering statistics collide with personal narrative, live-feed video, Shakespearean texts, and original movement to give embodied expression to the complexities of living with a chronic illness. Creator Diana Wyenn, who has Type 1 diabetes, places her story and body at the center of the work, as both a carrier of the disease and a vehicle for theatrical transmission.
Diagnosed in London at the age of 20, Wyenn’s first response was to resist immediate treatment in order to make it to the theater on time. Now, after more than fifteen years of grappling with diabetes, her relationship with her illness has progressed from denial to a powerful authority over her own well-being. Blood/Sugar weaves the personal with the existential, and the historical with the expressive, to illuminate the day-to-day choices that shape the lives of more than 422 million people worldwide.
Each performance is immediately followed by a conversation between Wyenn, the audience, and local diabetes educators and nutritionists.
“Watching Blood/Sugar could save your life … An actor, dancer, and vivid storyteller, she weaves the experience from her body, voice, and soul … In an hour, those of us who don’t live with a chronic deadly disease come as close as humanly possible to understanding how it feels. Those of us who do wrestle daily with mortal illness feel, 'Ah! Someone knows what we suffer.'” —Mark Hein, Theatre Ghost
“Through Wyenn’s fine acting and expert writing, I feel as though I’ve learned a tremendous amount. I will look at my own afflicted family members now in a new light. What better compliment can I give except I think I need to get checked." —Waeza Jagirdar, Drama Queens Review
“Talk about visceral theater! ... Blood/Sugar is half lecture, half performance, half college class, half call to action. Yes, that adds up to four halves, all of which she packs into her one intensely compelling hour of recitation, self filming, dancing, unloading, educating, reliving — and taking her rapt audience along for the ride.” —Debra Levine, artsmeme
“RECOMMENDED – A fascinating mixed-media approach to raising awareness … Diana Wyenn’s descriptions of the autoimmune disease she has been battling for 15 years are haunting … Her show is a political stance against insulin’s rising prices.” —Lara J. Altunian, Stage Raw
“As someone who’s lived with, battled, come to peace with, battled, and finally accepted a life with type one diabetes, Diana Wyenn’s show was like a bomb going off in my heart and my head. It’s a wonderful and artistic look at a bewildering disease. Blood/Sugar was like many things diabetes: funny, complicated, frightening, sad, and ultimately… rewarding.” —Jim Turner, Actor and Diabetes Advocate
“Diana, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your show (and support) broke through my denial and defiance and is helping to save my life. In three months time, I have dropped my A1C from 9 to 6.1; tri/cholesterol from 447 to 170; lost 18.3 lbs lost; and BP is now normal (It was dangerously high). These stats were directly motivated by your show.” —Audience Member w/ Type 2
“Diana's show accomplishes what no billboard or pamphlet ever could. Every healthcare provider working in cardiovascular disease treatment or prevention—or anyone wanting to improve our collective health—should see this show to begin to understand what it's like to live with a chronic illness and grasp that there is hope for change through our food choices.” —Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD, Chief Nutrition Officer at Nutrinic
creator, performer, writer, and director
Jason H. Thompson
Plain Wood Productions
PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENTAL HISTORY
NYU's Educational Theater Forum: Health & Performance, New York, NY
Bootleg Theater, Los Angeles, CA
Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, New York, NY
The Planet Activist Award
Outstanding Projection Design
NYU's Educational Theater Forum: Performance As Activism, New York, NY (20-minute version)
REDCAT's Studio Series, Los Angeles, CA (20-minute version)
Cornerstone Theater Rehearsal Hall, Los Angeles, CA (workshop production)
American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure Kick-off, Los Angeles, CA (5-minute excerpt)
Highways Performance Space, Los Angeles, CA (workshop production)
Che’Rae Adams, Reena Dutt, Tim Handley, Daniel Jimenez, Jennifer Jonassen, Dmitry Kmelnitsky, Aliza Lesser, Dean Petrakis, Lucy Redoglia, David G. Smith, Carol Wyenn, and Raymond Xifo.
Developmental support for Blood/Sugar was provided in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency, the National Arts and Disability Center at the University of California Los Angeles, and LADADSpace, with funding from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs.
BRING BLOOD/SUGAR TO YOUR COMMUNITY!