Shawn Coss’ Mental Illness Vignettes

Shawna found this website of visual artist, Shawn Coss’, interpretation of mental illness in ink.

About Shawn and Inktober:

“Sometimes to express a condition of mental words are not enough. To deeply understand a mental condition we also need the feelings, and the artistic expression, through drawing, allows to represent a set of emotions that are difficult to describe. The artist Shawn Coss has had the courage to put on paper the brutality of the situations and thoughts that are impossible to describe, creating of vignettes to illustrate a range of mental illnesses, without hiding the severity, and the suffering.”

I also recommend checking out Shawn Coss’ Artist page on Facebook.  The album is pinned to the top of his page right now, and they include thousands of responses from people who are living with mental illness.


The Task At Hand: Play Hamlet

Finn Wittrock: The First Time I Started a Theater Company

October 7, 2016, The New York Times

(Thanks, Eliza, for sending this recent article along!)

“True, we were childish. Plenty of the language was half-understood. We played for laughs. We played for what we’d seen before, either in mockery or adulation. We played for the thrill of it, for the sake of it, and for no other reason.

Now, roughly 15 years after the final Very Young Company performance, I’m going back to Shakespeare & Company to do a reading of “Hamlet.” As I think about the part’s long shadow, the countless examinations over the centuries, I am forced to recall those days of liberated crazy kid-enthusiasm, when any opportunity to be onstage would have been met only with pure unquestioning exuberance.


But sometimes I yearn to have the boldness of one who knows nothing, who jumps onstage for no other reason than because he is young and has a loud voice. All that education can make the task of reading “Hamlet,” preparing to play the part, feel daunting.

I played Happy in Mike Nichols’s production of “Death of a Salesman” a few years ago on Broadway. I remember Mike, referring to the unabashed chutzpah of his youth, saying with bewilderment, “Why was I so confident back then? I had no business being that confident.”

And yet he attributed most of his early success to that unreasonable confidence.

In a way Hamlet is facing his own crisis of confidence. “I am pigeon-livered and lack gall,” he laments. It takes the entire play for him to build the self-esteem to face his task head on, and this is met with the newfound credo “the readiness is all.”

Just like I am, Hamlet seems to be summoning the guts to play Hamlet. I’m sure that’s a wildly oversimplified version of the task at hand, but maybe it’s a decent place to start.

Lately I’ve been quick to remind people who ask about my return to Lenox for “Hamlet” that “it’s not a big deal — it’s just a reading.” Would my 9-year-old self ever utter such a disclaimer? I think not; he would leap up and exclaim: “Yes I am doing ‘Hamlet.’ And it’s gonna be awesome!”

No one gave us permission to do the Very Young Company; no one ordered us to do it, and no one had to boost our confidence to do it. We just did it. We were just kids howling Shakespeare to the Berkshire trees, and our readiness was all.”