Diana Wyenn's

BLOOD/SUGAR

an award-winning production that challenges the global diabetes epidemic

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 20, my first response was to resist immediate treatment in order to make it to a theater in time for a performance.

 

Now, after more than fifteen years of grappling with diabetes, I've turned all of my skills as a storyteller toward dispelling the lies, mystery, and shame surrounding diabetes in all its forms.

Together, we can challenge the growing diabetes epidemic.

THE PRODUCTION —

Diana Wyenn’s highly theatrical virtual solo show is a thrill-ride that takes you through the roller coaster of diabetes. Conceived originally as a live stage show, it is now a live virtual experience, complete with rich projections, movement, text, and innovative theatricality as historical perspectives and staggering statistics collide with personal narrative and deep humanity to give embodied expression to the complexities of chronic illness.

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.

All live performances are immediately followed by a conversation between Wyenn, the audience, and local diabetes educators and nutritionists.

 

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THE PRESS RESPONSE —

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 

“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 

 “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 

 

THE AUDIENCE RESPONSE —

​​“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​

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“Blood/Sugar is part TED Talk and part performance art and features the best of both. I’m always touched when I hear audience members during talk-backs after a show say, ‘This is the first time I’ve seen my story on a stage.’ I heard a number of audience members with diabetes in L.A. say just those words. I was entertained while learning more about the personal issues of being a person with diabetes.  I talked to medical researchers afterwards who confirmed that the field is only now coming to grips with the psychological impact of the disease. We all can benefit from seeing this play.”

— Michael Alexander, Interim Director of Campus Programs, Caltech

“A smart, gripping show that truly leaves you thinking about what it is to have this particular chronic disease and about the very human struggle to cope/not cope/transcend/not transcend illness.”

 

 

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“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

“She's literally performing not only her own illness but the disease itself, and it's breathtaking.” 

 

“More than ever, theater has become a tool to disseminate important information on health and when it's in the hands of artists like Diana Wyenn, one can be confident that the information will be disseminated with utmost care, sensitivity, accuracy and above all else, deep artistic integrity. I hope Diana will be given ample opportunity to continue in her timely mission.”  

— Fred Frumberg, Deputy Director and Program Manager, CAP UCLA

 

“A very inspiring performance, not to mention educational in the best possible way.” 

“Diana’s powerhouse educational memoir theater piece brings to light how this disease is deeply affecting millions of lives. Not only does she make the facts and data about diabetes digestible, her courage to tell her truth has now enabled me to ask questions about her disease that I was once uncomfortable to ask before. Everyone should see Blood/Sugar… for whether we know it or not, every single one of us is connected to a person with diabetes and we need to be informed.”

—Award-winning playwright Jami Brandli

“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

“A very inspiring performance, not to mention educational in the best possible way.” 

“What I loved about it was it perfectly expressed how I KNOW my patients feel, but don’t always have the words to use to articulate it. I’m always so humbled when one of my patients shares something private with me, it’s an honor.”

—Lauren Decker, Medtronic Diabetes Clinical Manager

“I just wanted to reiterate how much it ‘spoke’ to me. I have had so much shame and fear about my disease, which started about eight years ago. I haven't even been calling it a disease until I saw this show!” 

“A deep show with layers of insights, complexities, and contradictions. I've thought about it a lot and will continue to do so.” 

 

“As a type 2 diabetic I received more info on diabetes from Diana Wyenn's Blood/Sugar than I have from any doctor I've seen in the 3 years since my diagnosis. I (finally) have more clarity now which is saying a lot because diabetes is truly confusing & overwhelming on many levels. It was healing for me to see that people of all sizes struggle with this illness.” 

THE TEAM —

VIRTUAL PRODUCTION CREDITS

created, directed, and performed by Diana Wyenn

written by Diana Wyenn and Guy Zimmerman

developed in collaboration with Lauren Campedelli, John Zalewski, Jason H. Thompson, Joey Guthman, Rebecca Carr, Aaron Saldaña, and Laban Pheidias

camera and performance by Laban Pheidias

voiceover by Lauren Campedelli

video design by Jason H. Thompson
sound design by John Zalewski

costume design by Rebecca Carr
live broadcast by PXT Studio

produced by Plain Wood Productions

STAGE PRODUCTION CREDITS

created, directed, and performed by Diana Wyenn

written by Diana Wyenn and Guy Zimmerman

developed in collaboration with Lauren Campedelli, John Zalewski, Jason H. Thompson, Joey Guthman, Rebecca Carr, Aaron Saldaña, and Laban Pheidias

performed by Diana Wyenn and Laban Pheidias

voiceover by Lauren Campedelli

video design by Jason H. Thompson
sound design by John Zalewski

lighting design by Joey Guthman

costume design by Rebecca Carr

stage-managed by Laban Phedias and Aaron Saldaña

produced by Plain Wood Productions

 
ADDITIONAL MEDIA —

 

Watch the trailer for the stage production of Blood/Sugar

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Diana was interviewed about Blood/Sugar for National Diabetes Awareness Month in 2020 by SpectrumNews 1