The Great Imitator
Raising awareness for Lyme Disease with a blend of documentary theatre and imaginative departures from reality. Lily tries to call out sick from her own show, except instead she is thrust on a journey of uncertainty. From encounters with a personified, satirical, self-aware Pathogen to a Fairy Godmother, this play follows Lily’s quest for answers. She ends up discovering a whole lot more than she bargained for.
Our mission is to build community, mobilize advocacy, and fundraise for treatment grants. Our goal is for all affected parties – patients, families, and doctors – to feel seen, heard, and understood. Our story explains the Lyme disease battle so that you don't have to.
"Patricia Cosulich’s intelligent, deeply humorous play The Great Imitator is deftly formed from the narratives of her own journey contracting and living with Lyme disease as a young adult, and interviews she conducted with others suffering from Lyme, their supporters, and doctors. As a person living with the singular perspective, setbacks, and redemptive moments of a physical disability, I immediately connected with the play’s transcendence of great suffering through human interdependence and a unique, adversity defying optimism.
The Great Imitator incorporates comedy to great effect: from a magically conjured, no nonsense Fairy Godmother to the endearingly sadistic embodiment of Lyme disease’s Spirochete (Borrelia) species. The Fairy Godmother and the Spirochete mark the play as polar opposites, by turns advising for the good and ruthlessly taunting the Lyme-affected protagonists. It is a refreshingly unique play that also serves to advocate for those involved with Lyme disease (and other life-changing conditions) in the form of impeccably written comedic drama. I shed a few tears watching The Great Imitator, too."
Effy Redman, Memoirist/Disability Advocate (www.effyredman.com)
This piece is by and for the community. Written by yours truly (Patricia Cosulich), this play is inspired by my lived experience and a series of interviews with patients, doctors, loved ones, and advocates. Since I spent eight years fighting for my own diagnosis, I am intimately familiar with tickborne illness experience. Further, many of our actors and members of our creative team live with illnesses and disabilities and have provided feedback on the development process.
The Great Imitator has been through multiple iterations. I started while earning my MA in Social Innovation, an interdisciplinary degree at the intersection of peace and justice, leadership, and business. This play is the culmination of my Master's capstone.
So far there have been four public readings, with two major rewrites. I am forever grateful to everyone who has contributed to its development process, as it has been a community effort. Many colleagues, friends, and fellow Lyme warriors (who currently remain anonymous) provided feedback throughout the writing process.
Additionally, I was a finalist in pitch competitions which helped me learn how to communicate the value of the play, the design behind its community model, and why the issues it addresses are so important.
"EVERY PLAY NEEDS A VILLAIN"
How to Watch
The two most recent readings were held via Zoom during May of 2021. The recording is now available on a donate-what-you-can basis to fundraise for future productions (hint: we have an exciting announcement coming soon!!).
Our goal is to produce a live, in-person performance in Southern California in May of 2022. We are currently scouting venues and partners and can't wait to bring the play to life in-person, onstage!
We also hope to inspire a constellation of self-produced performances around the world in 2022.
If you’re interested in collaborating or hosting a show, don't be shy. We're looking for theatre artists, producers, medical schools, universities, and Lyme-community partners (nonprofits, doctors, and local advocates) especially in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. Thank you to those of you who have already offered locations or recommended us to others, we appreciate you so much!
How We Inspire Advocacy
The Lyme Disease community faces many gaps. We urgently need accessible (and reliable) diagnostics, affordable and effective treatments, increased research, and awareness. Not to mention that we would love better community understanding and compassion about how truly debilitating this condition can be. While we may not be able to solve all of these problems overnight, we are contributing to the larger ecosystem of Lyme disease advocacy.
By gathering communities and educating through the engaging art of storytelling, we are making a difference. We encourage audiences to take further action in whatever way fits their current capacity.